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NYCB dancer Sara Adams: ‘It was really hard not to be there last year’

The New York City Ballet returns to SPAC on Wednesday. Left: Maria Kowroski and Tyler Angle in "Diamonds" from "Jewels." Right: NYCB soloist Sara Adams in Peter Martins’ “The Sleeping Beauty.” (Paul Kolnik/Erin Baiano)
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The New York City Ballet returns to SPAC on Wednesday. Left: Maria Kowroski and Tyler Angle in "Diamonds" from "Jewels." Right: NYCB soloist Sara Adams in Peter Martins’ “The Sleeping Beauty.” (Paul Kolnik/Erin Baiano)

For dancer Sara Adams, opening night can’t come soon enough.

“It will be emotional being in front of an audience … to give this art form back,” she said. “I can speak for all of us that we’re thrilled. It was really hard not to be there last year.”

What has kept her going since last March is that she’s kept moving.

“I’ve danced in every room even if it was with a chair,” she said laughing. “When I visited my family in Cape Cod, I danced in every room of their house. Even my parents said they knew my routine now. I also tried new types of classes online. I immersed myself and I got certified in Pilates. I kept busy.”

Adams is even more excited than just being able to dance to a live audience this summer. While she’ll be doing dances in two ballets (“Sleeping Beauty” and “The Concert”) that she’s performed before, she’s making her company debut in two roles: the “Rubies” segment of “Jewels” and “Apollo.”

“I’m super excited. I’d done ‘Rubies’ before but I’ve never done the ‘Apollo’ solo,” she said. “At school I did the ‘Apollo’ variations but it’s been so long ago.”

Adams had been a member of the corps de ballet since 2009 until she was promoted to soloist in 2017. And it was as a member of the corps dancing “Rubies” that she’d seen the pas de deux.

“But I never expected to do it. It’s been such fun to learn new choreography. It brings me out of my comfort zone,” she said.

The first thing she did was to research other performances by watching videos at the Library of the Performing Arts to see Edward Villella and Patricia McBride dance.

“It was to get the essence of the piece. The choreography is very jazzy and playful and you use your hips more and there’s intricate partner stuff,” Adams said. “Then I want to bring my own ideas to it.”

She said she was also confident in her partner, Gonzalo Garcia, who has danced the role before.

“He’s such a great partner. He’s more nervous about having to speak,” Adams said laughing.
Garcia is the host for the “All Balanchine” performances.

Stravinsky composed the music which has always been done by an orchestra. But this summer, it will be the two pianists trying to re-create the orchestral score.

“It’s different. With the orchestra, you listen to certain instruments for cues, and the pianist is going to try to re-create some of those sounds. So I’ve been listening to the Stravinsky a lot,” Adams said.

The four days at SPAC will speed by quickly, but there’s very little lag time on her schedule.

“We’ll be starting class Aug. 3 to begin rehearsal for the fall,” she said. “I’ll probably go visit my family until then.”

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