During the month of July, Joffrey Ballet dancers Matthew Adamczyk and Valerie Robin spent two weeks teaching at the Summer Intensive session of The University of Akron’s Dance Institute.
In between classes, the Chicago dancers talked about some of the repertoire the Joffrey company will perform at Blossom in August. (They’ll dance the same program both nights.)
Adamczyk: I’m so excited about Stravinsky Violin Concerto, because that piece of music in general is just phenomenal. I can only imagine what it’s going to be when Cleveland plays it. The music is so different from what people expect—all fives and threes and nines, and it’s very odd to count for the dancers.
Robin: Although I think choreographically the steps are related directly to the music...
Adamczyk: But there’s nothing square in that Stravinsky music. It’s just bright and fun and clean. I think that the audience is really going to appreciate it. It builds and builds and builds and BUILDS and BUILDS, then Pop! It’s done. It finishes really well.
Robin: I’m looking forward to After the Rain. We don’t know what the casting is yet, but we know what the programming is.
Adamczyk: In the past Valerie and I have danced this ballet together. The music is by Arvo Pärt so it’s very interesting—dark, with chimes and gongs. The ballet is very beautiful contemporary movement, very sharp and harsh in the first section. We always make the comment that we’re the rain, and after the rain is the Pas de Deux at the end. It’s a really beautiful lullaby-like piece. Everything is such dramatic contrast—it really grabs the audience.
Robin: It’s challenging for the dancers, both technically and artistically.
Adamczyk: You have the hardest part. She never leaves the stage!
Robin: The choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon, came in to work with us and I was, like, dying. I looked up at him and said, ‘Did you hate this girl [the one for whom he originally created it] or something?’ (Big laugh.)
The Joffrey Ballet performs with The Cleveland Orchestra August 20 and 21 at the Blossom Festival.
Photo of Valerie Robin and UA Dance Institute Summer Intensive students by Dale Dong.