Before everyone headed out for the summer, we asked the Company Artists to share a little about their experiences over the past season. This interview is from Company Artist Summer Smith, who has been with the company since 2014. Summer will be returning to Ballet 5:8 for our Fifth Anniversary Season as a Company Artist.
Q. Pick one word to describe your experience this past performing season.
A. Overwhelming. In a good way. There have been so many different performance opportunities unlike any we had with my first season. We were able to travel so much and interact with tons of dancers, students, audience members, and families - it had a huge impact on the way I view my job. This life is tiring, it's a lot of hard work, especially considering that ballet and ministry are two paths I would have never chosen for myself. I've had to make the decision that the gospel is something I'm really committed to. Any sacrifice of time and energy that I can make is so small in comparison to the sacrifice Jesus made for us. It really is a joy to serve Him in this way.
Q. What was your favorite moment onstage?
A. My favorite moment- though not the easiest, was our last performance of And Mercy. It was an incredible experience, and I felt so connected to my fellow dancers in that journey. It was the only ballet we performed for the entire season, and it became a sort of friend to us, at times comfortable; other times, convicting.
Q. Looking back, would you say that you learned something new about yourself or found yourself stretched out of your comfort zone?
A. Julianna has a way of pushing all of us beyond our perceptions of ourselves. I've had a lot of bodily limitations to deal with and hurdles to jump over. They often make me feel like I am far less of a dancer than the rest of my coworkers, but Julianna (and the other dancers) continue to offer encouragement and insight as to how I might tackle my limitations and grow.
Q. What are you up to over the summer?
A. I am currently lying outside my parent's home in South Jersey, reading some Hemingway. Otherwise, I'll be going to the beach, teaching at Ballet 5:8's Summer Intensive, attending several weddings, and squeezing in as much fun with my family, friends and boyfriend as possible. This next week I am not working a single day, and I am incredibly thankful for the chance to rest, swim, and recharge.