Behind the Lens: Desmond Richardson Models for Capezio
By Deborah Searle of Dance Informa.
Contemporary dance icon Desmond Richardson recently modeled for a photo shoot to express why he is “Capezio” as part of the “I Am Capezio” campaign. Richardson is the Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet and he’s currently starring in After Midnight on Broadway. As a proud Capezio Athlete, Richardson was honored to model for the campaign. Here, he shares a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the shoot.
Tell us about the photo shoot for the “I Am Capezio” campaign.
“The experience was great from the word ‘go.’ We got together at their studio in New Jersey and they explained the campaign to me, what they’d like to do, and what they’d like me to showcase. Then they just kind of said ‘go!’, which was great because I like to collaborate in that way. We tried out some postures till they said, ‘Let’s go with those.’ They were photos that were strong and that people could look at and identify with who I am as a dancer.”
What is it that makes you ‘Capezio?’
“I would say what makes me ‘Capezio’ is the commonality of having the sculpture, detail and line, as well as the precision, of Capezio’s craftsmanship. That’s indicative of how I like to dance. I have a lot in common with Capezio’s mission.”
What products did you wear in the photo shoot and what is your favorite Capezio product?
“I tried on a lot of great shoes and lots of clothing attire. What I really like is the shoes, specifically the split-sole jazz shoes. Those are really comfortable. I also like the jazz sneakers (Dansneakers®). The men’s tights are always great for me too.”
How many Capezio photo shoots have you done over the years?
“I’ve done three. I hadn’t done it in quite a while so I was very honored to be asked.”
Do you remember what your first photo shoot for Capezio was like?
“Oh, sure! It was during the time when I was with Alvin Ailey. They asked if I would be a part of their campaign for their tights products. It was really cool all the way back then too to be asked to be the face of a product.”
How do you keep so fit, and photo shoot and stage ready?
“[Laughs.] Well, I’m in my mid-forties now so I do a series of floor barre and pilates mostly… Not a whole lot of gym work, because for me, if I do too much gym work then I get too bulky. So the floor barre lengthens my muscles. And of course I still take class, at least twice a week. (It’s not necessary for me to take class every day now.) I’m back in a show on Broadway called After Midnight, so I maintain the good health I’m in to perform.”
Tell us about After Midnight.
“Oh, it’s really a lot of fun! The show is set in the Cotton Club era so joining us on stage is Wynton Marsalis’ 17-piece jazz band. They’re on the bandstand and on stage with us. And the work that Warren Carlyle has choreographed and directed for us is really just a lot of fun. A large number of it is taken actually from the old Cotton Club era so it’s very nostalgic. The costumes are done by Rueben and Isabel Toledo, who did the First Lady’s inauguration dress. The costumes are beautiful and very, very elegant. We’re in tuxes with tails pretty much the whole show and it’s just very glamorous. So we look really good, very expensive if you will. And there’s no intermission. It’s all done in 90 minutes in one sweep. It keeps audiences on this unstoppable journey and puts them into a high leaving the theatre.”
Dance Informa just spoke to Capezio Athlete Jared Grimes about his role in After Midnight.
“He’s fantastic in the show! Oh my! His tapping combined with his expertise and all the other performers is a great combination. It’s a very family-oriented show too. It’s great to be in another Broadway show.”