A member of SDC, Desmond Richardson was raised in Laurelton, Queens NY. Richardson began his formal dance training at the High School of the Performing Arts, known now as LaGuardia High School of Art and the Performing Arts, the Alvin Ailey School, and the Sommer Academie des tanz Köln in Germany. He was the first African American principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre and is Co-Artistic Director with master choreographer Dwight Rhoden of the internationally acclaimed Complexions Contemporary Ballet, now celebrating its 27th season. He received a Tony Award nomination for his role in the Broadway original cast of Fosse, played the principal character of Tony in Twyla Tharp’s Broadway production Movin Out, worked in productions at Center Center Encores, made his Broadway singing debut in the Burt Bacharach/Hal David-Ann Reinking/Scott Ellis production The Look Of Love in collaboration with Manhattan Theater Club, and was a standout in recent Tony Award winning After Midnight on Broadway.
With his technical virtuosity and statuesque expressive demeanor, the New York Times has hailed Desmond Richardson as among the greatest dancers of his time. Lara Hartley poetically described him on Ballet Magazine website as “Moving sculpture, a body that is art, passing through time and space with power and grace – all parts connected, never stopping but heart stopping in beauty.” Richardson has graced the covers of Dance Magazine, Dance Spirit and Dance Teacher Magazine.
Richardson has been a principal dancer and an invited guest with many of the most prestigious companies in the world such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Martha Graham, José Lìmon, The Frankfurt Ballet, The Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Swedish Opera Ballet, Mariinsky Theatre, Teatro al la Scala. The Washington Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and more. He has performed on the most important stages in the world such as The Metropolitan Opera, The Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chandler Music Center, Teatro al la Scala, Paris Opera, The Bolshoi Theatre, Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg, Teatro Massimo and the Kremlin Theatre.
Richardson is the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in dance such as The Dance Magazine Award, Capezio Award, Ailey Apex Award, LA Ovation Award, Bessie Award, The YoungArts Alumni Award, and a 1986 YoungArts Finalist & Presidential Scholar in the Arts. He was invited to Israel to dance with Israeli dance icon Ido Tadmor, pianist Daniel Gortler and vocalist Adi Cohen for the 61st Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem.
He has appeared as a celebrity guest performer and choreographer on hit TV shows, films, videos and stage productions such as The American Music Awards, The Oscars, Italy’s AMICI Maria De Filippi , America, Australia and Israel’s So You Think You Can Dance, original cast member in Debbie Allen’s musical Soul Possessed, Julie Taymor’s opera Grendel as principal character Beowulf, Teatro al la Scala production of Moise e Pharoné with Roberto Bolle and conductor Maestro Riccardo Muti, as well as with Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, Elton John, Aretha Franklin and many others. Richardson has appeared in films such as the Oscar winning Chicago, Julie Taymor’s Across The Universe, Patrick Swayze/Lisa Niemi’s One Last Dance, Charles Randolph Wright’s (Tony Award Nominee /director MOTOWN) Preaching to the Choir and Fall To Rise. Richardson was a featured performer on the PBS special Jazz and the Philharmonic with a noted impromptu improv with vocal master Mr. Bobby Mcferrin.
He choreographed and was co-creative director on the Sybille Szaggers Redford & Robert Redford production of Way of the Rain at the Sundance Film Festival with notable musicians Will Calhoun, Chuck Palmer, Dave Eggar and the group OAR.
Richardson continues to give back and enjoys teaching and encouraging the next generation of dancers both as a Master Teacher nationally and abroad as well as an Artist In Residence at his company Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Teaching at Complexions Academy and many top universities including the USC Glorya Kaufman International School for Dance, Julliard, SMU, MaryMount, Skidmore, Harvard, Booker T Washington, UT Dallas, Princeton, UC Irvine, and UC Chapman has helped Richardson to continue to give back and nurture the next generation of young artists. Desmond Richardson is a sought after teacher in Europe in such countries as Italy, Russia, Paris, Sweden, Germany and many others. Through the critically acclaimed technique he and collaborative partner Dwight Rhoden developed titled “ NIQUE”, Richardson continues to share their expertise boldly. With the All Stars Project NY, YoungArts Miami, Jacobs Pillow, United Way, Dance Conventions -NYCDA, ASH and Nex-Us educational organizations, Richardson continues to pay it forward.
Recently, Mr. Richardson was invited to dance and speak for TEDTALKS IN PALO ALTO and is featured as the character Sammy in the featured film sequel by Michael & Janeen Damian “HighStrungFreeDance”. Richardson is the recipient of the US Presidential Honors Roosevelt “Rosey” Thompson Award and recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from The University of North Carolina School Of The Arts for Excellence in Fine Arts. He recently worked in collaboration with LA based choreographer Jacob Jonas, Grammy winning Saxophonist Dave Koz, composer Steve Hackman, and director Andre Bato on Edging Normal @Films.dance.
Richardson is currently working on the choreography for the Broadway-bound Mozart with Dwight Rhoden and Ferly Prado producer Tegan Summer.
Representation: McDonald/Selznick Associates NY/LA