Laura Schlatter 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. 

Q. What role do you play in Belteshazzar?

A. I play the role of Daniel, starting when he was a young man living in Jerusalem to his old years as a servant to the King in the Babylon. 

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

A. Daniel is a very spirited optimistic. He puts his trust and faith in God from the beginning and is able to reap the benefits of God's saving grace through many trials. The biggest testament to God's faithfulness is when He saves Daniel from the hungry mouths of the lions. This is my favorite scene to perform in the ballet.

Q. How does the choreography communicate this?  

A. Act 1 is very jumpy and energetic to symbolize youth. Daniel's steps become more refined and mature as the ballet goes on through Act 2 and 3.

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

A. Since Daniel grows old throughout the ballet, it can be interesting trying to figure out ways to dance "older" onstage than you really are without looking like you need a hip replacement! Although, that might not be a bad idea! Haha! Seriously though, I think having a year to mature in my personal life has allowed me to feel more comfortable with the character and his growth. 

Q. What are your favorite parts? Most challenging?

A. The Lion's Den scene is my favorite. I get pushed, shoved down and thrown into my own personal lion's den where the sound of roaring lions echo from all directions. Cool right? I know!

Q. Why see Belteshazzar again this year? 

A. Besides coming to enjoy an evening of artistic resonance and beauty, the story of Daniel is such an extremely true testament of God's faithfulness that it'll shake you in your boots! Come be shaken!