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Photo by RJ Muna, courtesy of LINES Ballet

When Shuaib Dee Elhassan began his dance training at 12 years old at The Ailey School in New York City, he never imagined himself as a contemporary ballet dancer. "Ailey was all I knew—Ailey was the dream," he says. But as he got older and was introduced to a range of classical and contemporary companies, something changed. "I began to appreciate something totally different," he says. And now as a member of San Francisco–based Alonzo King LINES Ballet, a promising career in contemporary ballet is shaping up.

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Photo by Morah Geist, courtesy of Complexions

While studying at ABT's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School as a teenager, Complexions Contemporary Ballet dancer Andrew Brader shared a special moment with Susan Jaffe, who soon became his mentor.

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William Forsythe teaching ballet class to BFA students

It’s a good time to be a USC dance major. The USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance’s inaugural class of BFA students have some exciting opportunities coming their way this spring. Check out the agenda:

- This month, students learned technique and repertory from RUBBERBANDance artistic director Victor Quijada, one of this year’s artists-in-residence.

- Next month, in addition to having artistic advisor and faculty member William Forsythe back in the studios teaching ballet, composition and improvisation, artist-in-residence Fiona Lummis (former Nederlands Dans Theater dancer) will teach repertory by Jiří Kylián.

- Master classes with Bill T. Jones and Hubbard Street 2 will occur in March. Also, Martha Graham Dance Company members will teach a work to students, which they will perform with the company on April 27.

- To cap off their first Spring semester, students will get to take master classes with artist-in-residence Desmond Richardson (DT, January 2016) and Complexions Contemporary Ballet in April.

The USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance was founded in 2012 and is led by vice dean and director Jodie Gates (DT, September 2014). In the fall of this year, classes will be held in the new 54,000-square-foot Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center.

Photo by Rose Eichenbaum, courtesy of USC.

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Now in her fourth season with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Ashley Mayeux values co-artistic director Desmond Richardson's hands-on help with tricky partnering.

“I can always count on Des to come in and try movement with me. Then, I can go back and tell my partner, 'OK he’s doing this, and it really works for me.' Desmond is such a natural at partnering. He’s so intuitive and instinctual with it. He helps me and my partner understand what needs to be done to make the movement easier and clearer.”

Mayeux performs with Complexions Contemporary Ballet at The Joyce Theater in New York City through Sunday, November 29.

Photo by Rachel Neville, courtesy of Complexions Contemporary Ballet

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