Summer Intensive Diary: Joffrey Academy

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.

 

Last week, my level had Alexi Kremnev for the first four days of ballet class. His is, most likely, one of my favorite classes I’ve ever experienced. Although my level has thirty one dancers, he was able to make universal and individual corrections. One universal correction that was extremely helpful to me was in adagio when we had to developpé side then turn into the arabesque: He reminded us to use our backside to help create the arabesque. And when we did pirouettes, this correction helped me turn more. He also corrected me on my brisé, reminding me to keep my legs open after the jump when landing in plié.

 

On Wednesday the first 50 students to sign up were able to take a master class from former Paris Opera Ballet étoile Florence Clerc. I was the third to last person on the list! It was amazing. Ms. Clerc still has stunning technique. Although the class was large, she still corrected and complimented individual students. One of her most helpful corrections was during jumps. She emphasized the importance of pliés, which I sometimes forget to use to the full extent. I wish I could take her class again.


After class, the Paris Opera Ballet experience continued. Nearby the housing dorms is Millennium Park where there was a live screening of the Paris Opera Ballet’s Giselle. This was the first time they'd ever screened a ballet live in the park. All of the dancers were extraordinary, but my favorite was Albrecht. His jumps were so high; he looked like he soared. And the corps de ballet were perfectly together, especially during the part where the wilis go across the entire stage in arabesque. That second act of Giselle is one of my favorite parts of any ballet.


The next day, Alexi Kremnev and Anna Reznik, the Academy’s artistic directors, gave a talk in the Joffrey studios. Beforehand, any student was able to fill out a piece of paper with any five questions. These questions were anonymous. One of my favorite answers was to the question, Is it possible to be a mother and a professional dancer? Ms. Reznik answered without hesitation and wholeheartedly, “Yes, absolutely.”