Summer Intensive Diary: Dancing in the Heat Wave

This summer, Pointe is taking a peek inside the Joffrey Ballet's International Summer Intensive with guest blogs from dancer Rachel Davis of New Jersey.

 

July fourth marked the midway point of the Joffrey Chicago Program! We had the holiday off so we went to the beach, then to  Navy Pier to see the fireworks.

 

Since this summer has more students in the program than ever before, Joffrey had to rent out an additional studio at 218 Wabash, referred to as “218,” and our level was there last week. Although 218 isn't nearly as spacious and the air-conditioner isn't always on (it's too loud), I actually like 218. The hot air makes me sweat more so I feel like I’ve gotten a full workout at the end of the day. It also heats my muscles faster and keeps them warm.

 

On Monday and Tuesday, our teacher was Suzanne Lopez, a former Joffrey dancer. She was amazing! Her class was more basic than others I’ve taken here, but that’s something I appreciate. I was able to focus on the small steps and details that usually get overlooked when you're doing more complicated combinations. Sometimes in class I feel as though I’m so focused on getting the steps correctly that I lose the freedom to feel the music and just dance. During one combination, we had to arabesque, rond de jambe and then do another arabesque on the opposite side. Ms. Lopez corrected me by saying that I can lift and open my chest more during the arabesques, showing my love for dance. She also gave a universal correction that I really liked: When doing a soutenu, imagine it as a zipper. I'd never thought of that before! I really wish I could have her again.

 

We also started our second ballet repertory piece last week. Ours has a character twist, we get to carry handkerchiefs and have braids in our hair! I can't wait to see what's in store for our last two weeks.