Our Fifth Anniversary has come to a close, and it's time to look back on the year and see what stood out to the dancers. Congrats to Samuel Opsal on his promotion to Company Artist for the 2017-2018 Season!
Q. Pick one word to describe this season overall. Why?
A. For me this season could be described as a “Flash”. It is baffling to me how quick this year went by. With six new works this season, including the full-length ballet Scarlet, we had a very busy time during the creative process. That was then matched with a different kind of hectic schedule as the Company toured across the nation. As the saying goes: time flies when you are having fun.
Q. What ballet was your favorite this season? Why?
A. That is a difficult question since I like all the ballets for different reasons. Overall I think Before the Vows was my favorite to perform. I enjoy the lighthearted feeling and fun partnering. While touring I had the opportunity to perform the piece in many different environments, from a news station studio to a 1,000-seat theatre. It was fun for me seeing the ways that different spaces impacted the choreography and the way it was viewed.
Q. What has challenged you the most? How did you grow?
A. The biggest challenge for me has been to fully invest in the characters that I portray. I played two very dark roles this past year as the personification of lies in Ripple Effect and Roger Chillingsworth in Scarlet. Through the process of learning and performing these roles I was pushed to go further than my comfort zone. After going through that experience I have a deeper understanding of how to fully commit to a dark character onstage while not letting those characteristics bleed into my life offstage.
Q. A particularly funny or memorable moment?
A. This year my birthday was quite memorable because of how it lined up with our touring schedule. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning in Colorado and then flew to Philadelphia via Atlanta. From there we drove through Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey to spend the night in Connecticut. This was definitely the first time I was in six different states on my birthday!
Q. Is there a particular quote or idea that has been inspirational to you this season?
James 1:2-4 has been an encouragement to me this past year.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let the steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Along with the many blessings I have experienced this past year there have also been plenty of trials and this verse has always reminded me of God’s faithfulness.
Q. What are you up to this summer?
A. This Summer I will be staying in the Chicago area. I look forward to teaching at Ballet 5:8’s Summer Intensive and enjoying some beautiful weather.