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.

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
Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

2020 Stars of the Corps: The Joffrey Ballet's Dara Holmes

A seasoned dancer, Dara Holmes' career with The Joffrey Ballet has consisted of a lot of heavy lifting in the ensemble. "As a new company member, I was onstage all the time," says Holmes, 28. "The older you get, the more you start to appreciate your body and want to preserve it. If I want to keep dancing and do bigger roles, I need to be healthy."

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

Editors' Picks