Ballet West's Emily Adams Gets Innovative

Emily Adams is having a spectacular year: The Ballet West soloist's fourth work for the company is being presented this week in its Innovations program. And, she's being promoted to principal this fall. Pointe spoke with Adams about developing her passion for choreography. 

What's the inspiration behind your newest work, Homage?
Last summer, I saw this Salvador Dali sculpture, "Homage to Terpsichore." It really spoke to me. It has two standing figures, a classical nude form and a cubist one. I thought it would lend itself well to movement.

What types of movement are you working with?
I have 10 dancers, split into two groups to represent the aspects of the sculpture. The "classicals" are pretty and have very square, smooth, beautiful lines. I'm kind of thinking of them like Greek gods and goddesses. But the "cubists" are disjointed, angular and twitchy. Compared to the classical dancers, they're very chaotic.

How do you hope to juggle being a principal and choreographing?
When I was a demi-soloist, I was doing principal, soloist and corps roles, so it was a very hard schedule. When you're a principal, there's pressure when you're dancing the big roles, but you have a little bit more time and fewer parts to keep track of. And, I think the status helps when you're choreographing on your peers. The first time I did Innovations, I was a corps member, and I was leading a room with principals and soloists. That can be a little intimidating.

 

 

For even more interviews, tips, audition info and giveaways, sign up for our FREE e-newsletter.

Above: Adams with Christopher Ruud in The Lottery. Photo by Luke Isley, Courtesy Ballet West.

Latest Posts


Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Jeremy Kyle, Courtesy Laubacher

My First Month as a Professional Dancer in the Age of COVID-19

I moved to Eugene, Oregon, in August, brimming with nerves and excitement to launch my career as an aspirant with Eugene Ballet. After months of quarantining at home in Pittsburgh because of the coronavirus lockdown, transitioning to my new life on the West Coast marked a rapid shift. But in time, it granted me newfound feelings of security. For starters, the ritual of filling up my water bottle, packing my shoes and leotard, putting up my hair and walking into the studio reintroduced a much needed flow of normalcy into my life.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

"My Plate Is Full": Sofiane Sylve on Her New Leadership Roles at Ballet San Antonio and Dresden Semperoper

Sofiane Sylve had huge plans for 2020: Departing her post as a principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet, she embarked on a multifaceted, bicontinental career as ballet master and principal dancer at Dresden Semperoper Ballett, and artistic advisor and school director at Ballet San Antonio—and then COVID-19 hit, sidelining performances and administrative plans at both companies. But ballet dancers are nothing if not resilient. In her new leadership roles, Sylve is determined to help shepherd ballet through this challenging time—and transform it for the better. Pointe caught up with her by phone while she was in Dresden.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks