‘A type of magic’: PointeWorks ballet company looks to make La Jolla its summer home

Members of the PointeWorks ballet company intend to have a summer home in La Jolla starting in 2024.
(Raquel Beauchamp)

A new ballet company is coming to La Jolla to give dancers a showcase during what is considered the offseason, which happens to be La Jolla’s busiest season.

PointeWorks, founded by La Jolla native Sophie Williams, plans to call The Village home starting next summer at a venue to be determined.

Williams, who has danced around the world with various troupes, said the company is intended to “create a space and platform for artists to perform and for choreographers to show their work” when they are not committed to other projects.

Dancers in a company often are booked for up to 35 weeks a year and spend the remaining time teaching or looking for other work, Williams said. That extra time often is during the summer.

“It’s a shame to not be able to continue doing what you love,” she said. “For dancers, being able to perform feels like a necessity, so I wanted to create a summer ballet company where they can perform.”

As a teaser to the inaugural summer season, smaller events are planned starting this fall, Williams said, leading up to “big performances” in June 2024 that will help highlight female choreographers.

“It’s surprisingly rare to be able to perform a work by a female choreographer,” she said. “It’s not that they aren’t out there, but I’ve danced for 13 companies and have only performed the work of a female choreographer once. So I want to be able to provide a platform for that as well.

“So the first performance will be an evening of ballet with works by four female choreographers.”

As part of the first season, Williams plans to hold open rehearsals and performances at schools and other outreach programs, in addition to staged performances. The company currently has six dancers committed from places such as Texas, Pennsylvania, Japan, Brazil and Argentina, and she is looking to add up to four more.

Sophie Williams and Valentin Batista are part of the PointeWorks ballet company.
Sophie Williams and Valentin Batista are part of the PointeWorks ballet company that plans to perform in La Jolla next summer.
(Nathan Carlson)

“The company itself will be eight to 10 dancers, depending on the size of the piece,” Williams said. “As a dancer, your contract is renewed annually, so you have to audition every year, but with that you get to meet wonderful dancers all the time. ...

“This company has a range of passionate people that I have worked with in the past. So I wanted to bring people I know from all over the place to La Jolla.”

Having grown up in La Jolla, Williams said it is “the perfect place to start this project. There is also nothing like it here, so it felt like a great fit. ... La Jolla is home.”

“For dancers, being able to perform feels like a necessity, so I wanted to create a summer ballet company where they can perform [during the offseason].”

— Sophie Williams

As a young ballerina, Williams would drive up and down California to see top ballet companies, and she wants to bring that experience back, she said.

“In life, you need sciences, math, your doctors and lawyers … but the arts and ballet ... that’s our reason to exist. What we do is just as important as other jobs. I believe dance and the arts feed our souls and give us inspiration and passion to live our lives more fully. Every time you go to a ballet, whether it be a story where you can be brought into a new world or a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and fall in love, there is a type of magic with ballet. I can’t compare it to anything else.”

The same sentiment applies to when she performs.

“I couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” Williams said. “It’s a real privilege to be onstage and be able to share that connection and experience with the audience. There is real joy and a real journey you go on as a dancer, because a performance is never the same thing twice. You can feel it when they are engaged, so being able to experience that is my favorite thing about performing. When you have moved someone in the audience, there is nothing more rewarding than that.”

To learn more about joining the company as a dancer or choreographer or about its programs and performances, visit ◆