PRecious Adams compares being a dancer to having fiber optic cables running through your body. “Our mind-body connection is on another level,” she says. “Even after all these years, you’ll suddenly become aware of a new muscle and trigger it, like, I didn’t know I could activate my deep rotators so intensely!” A few years ago, a trainer told Adams to consider pressing his big fingernail to the ground for more stability: “And suddenly that gave me the most control over my whole body; the magic answer. Was I totally oblivious to my big toe the whole time? »
Adams, originally from Detroit, did her first dance around the living room to a Vengaboys CD, but later trained in Canada, Monaco and Moscow before joining the English National Ballet in 2014. singled out by critics, whether for her Russian Schooled Lyricism, charismatic American zing or getting under the skin of contemporary choreography, and she is set to appear in a triple program including Mats Ek’s new Rite of Spring and a work by William Forsythe to the electronic music of James Blake.
Recently promoted to soloist, Adams’ rise to ENB has been steady rather than a sprint, but she’s optimistic about it. “I can’t let casting be the thing that defines my happiness and fulfillment, because, you know, I still haven’t been cast as Odette/Odile [in Swan Lake] – it’s the same kind of unhealthy attachment to getting your satisfaction from Instagram. Now 27, “I feel like the healthiest, strongest dancer of my career,” she says. “I’ve never been happier taking classes and there’s something really freeing about it.” She sees the years between 25 and 35 as the pinnacle of the dancer, in terms of technique, artistry and emotional maturity. “And there’s something beautiful about just enjoying that and not worrying about things that aren’t in my hands.”
One of those things out of Adams’ hands is ENB losing its director, Tamara Rojo, an inspirational dancer herself, which transformed the company. Rojo is leaving for San Francisco Ballet at the end of the month, and his successor, Aaron Watkin, won’t officially start until August 2023. Some dancers have freaked out about being in limbo. “You know, ‘Who’s going to see the work that we do? Who will give promotions? says Adams. “I’m like, my career is in the studio every day. It’s not determined by the promotion I got that year.
While Adams is as passionate about ballet as she’s ever been, her sense of perspective perhaps comes from the fact that she’s also looking beyond her career as a dancer and coming from finishing the first year of a computer science degree (she may be the only ballerina whose next job is actually in cyber). How does she manage her time? “You just bring it in when you can,” she says, in a “no big deal” way. She does it part-time, mostly remotely, and other dancers in the company are also studying. “You don’t want to wake up at 45 and have no ID.”
College provided a nice contrast to her job as a dancer. “I feel a lot of relief and joy walking into the studio after graduation,” she says. “And I find that my brain picks up the choreography a little faster, more aware.” The last two years have changed things. “You become a ballet dancer and it’s your whole life, from an almost unhealthy perspective,” she says, “and the pandemic has been a big wake-up call for me. I thought I might never get back on stage again.
Adams credits the time spent training in confinement with bringing more clarity to his technique – “I think of my body as this geometric puzzle; dance physics makes a lot more sense to me now” – and says the pandemic has humanized the world of ballet. “It blew the lid off any facade the ballet had around glamor and glitz.” Rojo was teaching a daily ballet class online from her kitchen. “Seeing the inside of your boss’ house, it just humbled everyone, brought everyone down to earth. In the arts, there’s a lot of creative energy, a lot of ego, and a lot of of that has been wiped out,” Adams says. “There’s a lot more awareness of being sensitive to people’s well-being. The diva thing — nobody really accepts it anymore.
As we speak, Adams has just walked out of the studio with Mats Ek. It’s not the first dance from Rite of Spring Adams: it was chosen to be the chosen one in Pina Bausch’s uplifting version and calls the dance to Stravinsky’s totemic score “powerful”, “moving” and “daunting”. “. But Ek’s interpretation of ritual sacrifice is not the Wicker Man scenes of certain rites, but the story of an arranged marriage. Adams plays the mother of the bride, a complex role. “There are a lot of inner conflicts,” she says. “She has to sacrifice her daughter, but she’s in her own arranged marriage, so that was her fate as well.” The process of creating a new role with a choreographer is the most rewarding thing for a dancer, says Adams. “You can bring your whole being into the room,” she says, which to Adams means fiber optic body, computer brain, and magic big toes.