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choreography: Julia Adam

music: Kevin Volans - White Man Sleeps
costume design: Linda Pisano

lighting design: John Bohuslawsky



World premiere of Allegoria
by BalletMet Columbus, February 11, 1999

These notes compiled by Gerard Charles, BalletMet Columbus, February 1999



Julia Adam says that ultimately she is looking for a marriage of sound and movement, that it is the music that drives her choreographic images. Once she has selected a piece of music that inspires her she will listen to it over and over again forming different ideas and mental pictures, and assigning sections of music to differing combinations of dancers.

Ms. Adam favors small, intimate music to choreograph to as she feels she would need "a Ben Hur cast" to do justice to fuller orchestral works. She was drawn to the music White Man Sleeps because of the variety of rhythms and mood changes in the one composition. She has often found herself choreographing ballets to compilations of music in an effort to obtain such a variety. The one thing impeding her selection of White Man Sleeps was its similarity, by coincidence, to the score she had chosen for Innocence and Experience, her previous creation for BalletMet.

Allegoria is an abstract dance work, it is not important to Ms. Adam to have the audience understand her thoughts or motivations, she did develop strong mental images for the structure of Allegoria. Julia felt that White Man Sleeps had a very tribal sound to it, a sense that is fully explored in the first movement of the dance. We see the women and men in separate and distinct groups. The women have long sweeping moves in keeping with their music while the men make their appearance with strong and staccato movements. From this contrasting opening Ms. Adam breaks the dancers into pairs, exploring different types of interaction between couples. We see an aggressive relationship develop, one that is a clinging and grasping love, a quartet with a maternal/paternal feeling and also a more playful duet. In its final movement the dancers return to tribal groupings infused with a ritualistic sense.

Although she acknowledges positive influences from some of the major choreographers she has worked with as a dancer, Ms. Adam's movement style is undeniably her own. She believes this is due to her synthesizing most of the movements through her own body; the movements must feel natural for her. Of an earlier piece she was told that it was "so Julia," a comment that she at first took as a barb but later realized as a compliment to her having found her own voice; who else to be but yourself?

In her work Ms. Adam uses a small vocabulary of movements that she then manipulates in many ingenious ways. (With groups there is much greater potential for such manipulations than with solos.) It is natural for a choreographer to feel pressured to develop new steps and movement ideas for every moment in a dance, especially when they may be bored by having watched the ballet day in and day out over a long rehearsal period. Julia has learned the important of trusting her own instincts and not worrying about repetition. If she goes to bed unable to stop worrying about a section of choreography, she will probably change it the next day.

Ms. Adam's gifts as a dancer are in dramatic interpretation and musicality, two fortes that she also views as important to her choreography. She likes to draw an audience into a work in a relaxed way, not to 'hit them over the head' with bombastic movement. The human element is also important in Ms. Adam's work. She favors the more personal relationship between audience and artists that is possible in smaller theaters. With the plethora of communications available today, that personal human connection is often missing. She hopes that in the coming century more emphasis will be placed on the importance of creativity.

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