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.
The last week at Joffrey was both sad and exciting: We had three performances, but we had to say goodbye. Chicago was a great place to spend the summer and Joffrey did a great job making sure that we experienced the city. One of the best parts of this program was Mr. Alexei Kremnev’s classes. Our level had him for the last two days. Everyone was dripping with sweat; it’s great to feel like you’ve worked your hardest. His combinations are hard (and he makes us repeat them over and over), but he makes the classes fun and light at the same time. They are, by far, some of the most enjoyable I’ve ever taken.
On the last day, my level got to watch company class. My favorite dancer was Dara Holmes because even when she just did a tendu, it was a thing of beauty. Derrick Agnoletti, a teacher at the summer intensive, was also taking class, and the power and strength in his jumps and turns were amazing.
I feel as though I have learned quite a lot. At Joffrey, I’ve expanded my “dancer mind” to not only include classical ballet, but to experience all kinds of dance. I learned that varied styles of modern (such as Graham and Horton) are completely different. I also took a completely new type of jazz called MoPeD (More People Dancing) where you are so free to express yourself in any way. For the first two songs or so of class, each student moves however they feel. The teacher, Mr. Ronn Stewart, calls out “Dancer Yoga!” or “Tripod!” Then, you interpret his sayings and dance without looking at anyone or the mirror. I enjoyed that it was just me and myself thinking about new ways to move.
I'd recommend the Joffrey Chicago Summer Intensive to any young dancers who want to experience the whole dance field. Although the focus is not on ballet, I still felt that I improved my ballet training and I loved learning about jazz, modern, character and contemporary. I’ve learned so much from the teachers. Although the intensive schedule is confusing because it changes, the program is still an amazing experience. Having been open for only four years, just imagine how much it will improve and become even greater in the future years!