Brette Benedict on Belteshazzar

Ballet 5:8's Belteshazzar: A Perilous Tale went onstage for the first time in February, 2015. One of Ballet 5:8's largest-scale undertakings at the time, the full length, three-act story ballet set to the music of Benjamin Britten was a beautiful success and a favorite among audience members who saw it during the 2014-2015 season. This performing season, Belteshazzar has returned to the stage for a second round of performances - but what's changed? As final performance of the season looms closer in May, we are catching up with a few of the dancers to see how the work has evolved and what some of the highlights of its run have been. 

Brette Benedict

Q. What role do you play in Belteshazzar?

A. I play the role of King Nebuchadnezzar.

Q. What are some of the major attributes/characteristics of your character and your role? 

A. King Nebuchadnezzar is extremely powerful. He has conquered a large amount of land and has all the riches in the world. All that power makes King Nebuchadnezzar extremely prideful.

Q. How does the choreography communicate this?  

A. The choreography and music are a perfect blend in order to communicate who Nebuchadnezzar is. When the music is slow it is extremely chilling. There is a sense not knowing what will happen next. The stronger, louder music show's King Nebuchadnezzar's power.  The movement for both is extremely large and commanding.

Q. How has the role evolved for you from last year to this year? 

A. Since this is my second year performing this role I have a little more confidence when I step out onto the stage so I no longer have to act confident when my nerves kicked in last year. It has been so much fun to perform the role and explore different ways I can interpret the role of King Nebuchadnezzar. I feel like this year the King has a little more anger towards Daniel and his friends.

Q. What are your favorite parts? Most challenging?

A. My favorite part of playing Nebuchadnezzar is also the most challenging part. The end mad scene into the finale of Act two. I guess the challenge is what makes it my favorite part. It asks me to dive deep inside of me to try and relate to the character of King Nebuchadnezzar. I can never be too crazy for the mad scene and I can never be too broken for the redemption.  It asks for two extremes. Each time I get a chance to perform the ballet I like to explore how much more I can dive into those two emotions.

Q. Why see Belteshazzar again this year? 

A. Why come again? Belteshazzar is just such a great story! Julianna also made a few changes to the choreography which only enhanced the story line. We also have a few new dancers in different roles that bring the ballet new life. There is something great about watching the ballet for a second time. It's like going to see a movie a second time. You still follow the plot of the movie but you make notice of the supporting characters and the scenery which enhance the story all the more!