Valerie Linsner on Butterfly

Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager’s newest work Butterfly shares a tragic but beautiful story of hope inspired by the children of WWII Terezin. We are excited to learn more about the work from a few of the dancers who are participating in the creation process.


Company Apprentice Valerie Linsner

Q. Based on your experience, how would you describe Butterfly?

A. Butterfly is sobering, to say the least.

Q. What role(s) have you been dancing?

A. I have been dancing the role of Young Helga. Helga Weiss is a Holocaust survivor who still lives today!

Q. Describe the movement. What has been easy to capture and perform? Challenging?

A. All of the movement is very emotional. Some of it is very weighted, heavy, sad, even numb, while other times it is very alive, determined, gritty, and hopeful, so showing those different emotions in the body, and not just the face has been a really interesting and fun challenge for me. For her baseline of movement, Julianna has chosen to use neoclassical ballet, adding meaningful hand gestures and motifs, as well as traditional Jewish folk dance.

Q. What do you most enjoy about the work?

A. I enjoy the authentic storytelling of Butterfly. There is nothing fake about it. It is very raw and very real, something that I think is paramount when telling a story as sensitive as the Holocaust, in which so many people were deeply affected. I know Julianna's intention with this work is to show the hope that several people held onto in the middle of the worst tragedy ever. I am very excited to see her vision unfold and the beauty that emerges from it!

5. Why see Butterfly?

A. Butterfly has powerful dancing, rich music, genius choreography, striking visuals, and endless heart. It's a must-see that will be leave those who watch it changed and inspired!