Isabella Boylston and Roddy Doble in "Le Corsaire." (Courtesy of Gene Schiavone)
Since his days studying in elementary school, Jared Matthews has appreciated the art of theater.
“I’ve always enjoyed all those things,” said Matthews, a native of Houston and current New York resident.
Currently, Matthews is a member of American Ballet Theatre, a company that annually tours the U.S. while performing for more than 400,000 people.
According to Matthews, he’s changed ever since joining the company.
“All the people I’ve met and the traveling I’ve done has really changed me as a person,” he said. “From that aspect, my life is totally different from what it could have been.”
Matthews, who mentioned he loves watching film and reading books, joined ABT as an apprentice in 2002 and as a member of the corps de ballet in April 2003 before being appointed a soloist in August 2007.
“First and foremost, we have some really great coaches and I love working with them,” he said. David Howard is now coaching Matthews.
“In this industry, we are gearing and gearing for shows so it’s essential to be on the same page as them in order to achieve what need to achieve and meeting those ideas that need to be met,” added Matthews. “That’s a great exchange.”
ABT’s scheduled to perform Thursday, July 11 through Sunday, July 14 at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles. It’s their 16th engagement at the venue. They first performed in 1968.
Opening night will include a mixed repertoire program featuring artist-in-residence Alexei Ratmansky’s new “Chamber Symphony” set to music by Dmitri Shostakovich. On top of that, it carries “Apollo” and “Symphony in C.”
“Fans need to come out and see the mixed repertoire program,” said Matthews. “They’re all fantastic, beautiful pieces. There’s always something happening on the stage. The audience can easily connect with the people who are performing.”
The fun continues with ABT’s four performances of “Le Corsaire” Friday-Sunday. The principal casting for “Le Corsaire” includes Herman Cornejo, Marcelo Gomes, Paloma Herrera, Gillian Murphy, Xiomara Reyes, Veronika Part, Daniil Simkin, Cory Stearns, and Ivan Vasiliev.
Matthews, who has visited LA many times in the past, will take part in “Le Corsaire.” This piece will have a lot of dancing, jumps and tricks, Matthews said.
So what does Matthews like about LA?
“It’s such a different environment especially when getting to the airport, there ‘s just this energy,” he said. “But it’s also a very relaxed environment. I have friends out there. I’ve always enjoyed going to LA. It’s like a working vacation when you go to LA.”
Matthews also said that the ballet’s wardrobe is a must-see.
“Clearly, it’s an essential aspect of the performances,” he said. “It’s very important because that’s what sometimes audiences notice at first. It’s visually appealing.”
During ABT’s short stint in LA, three eras of choreography (Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, and Alexei Ratmansky) are represented in the programming – all under the artistic direction of Kevin McKenzie.
“It’s definitely a great program for LA and I hope people come see the shows,” said Matthews. “In my opinion, this program is fantastic. This is ballet at its finest moment. It’ll be great fun.”
Tickets for American Ballet Theatre are priced from $34-$125 and are available at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Box Office, 135 North Grand Avenue. Tickets are also available by calling (213) 972-0711 and online at musiccenter.org/events/dance.html.