Stephanie Joe: Season Reflections

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 Stephanie Joe on her promotion to Solo Artist for the 2017-2018 Season!

Stephanie Joe

Q. Pick one word to describe this season overall. Why?

A. Blessing - this season has been such a whirlwind of experiences, and it’s crazy to look back on the numerous performances we’ve given and the many places we’ve traveled to - and to think, all this happened within the last 8 months! It certainly is a very intense, physically and mentally challenging lifestyle. Nonetheless, I think being stretched to my limits this season has allowed more opportunities to see God working in my life, faithfully providing and sustaining me, encouraging me through other fellow dancers, generous host families, and supportive family and friends. There was a time when I didn’t think I would dance professionally, but here I am - I’m so thankful for this opportunity to dance and inspire & encourage others through dance!

Q. What ballet was your favorite this season? Why?

Scarlet was an incredible experience - from talking through backstories in our character development workshops and having to angrily flip a plate on camera early on in the creation process, to seeing the whole production, dance and film, come together on stage for the first time in the Athenaeum Theatre. I felt that I was taken through a journey of emotions each time we ran the ballet; it was moving to live through my character’s story, her hidden pain, hurt, and eventual healing, and to watch my fellow dancers journey through their characters’ emotional arcs also.

Q. What has challenged you the most? How did you grow?

A. While there were many physically challenging aspects of this season (stamina-wise, technique, etc), one of the biggest lessons I’ve been learning is how to handle perfectionism. In ballet, we come face to face with the elusive balletic ideals of perfection each day, both in the studio during class and rehearsals, and also on stage. It’s rare for a performance to go perfectly well in all aspects, especially as a touring company constantly performing in different locations, and there were certainly times when it was hard not to be discouraged when I felt that something could have gone better. However, it was in those moments that I had to choose to between dwelling on the mistake or consciously letting go of the negative self-talk. I’ve always strongly believed in staying committed to the character or feeling of the piece regardless of what happens in the moment, but with practice I’m growing to not be so easily distracted by things that don’t go as desired. My goal is to focus on continually giving generously as an artist in each remaining moment on stage.

Q. A particularly funny or memorable moment?

A. I don’t think I can pick out one specific memory - they’re all blurring together at this point, but there is never a dull moment at Ballet 5:8! I’m definitely grateful for the camaraderie and community we have here.

Q. Is there a particular quote or idea that has been inspirational to you this season? 

A. Remembering that the Lord is our strength and joy, and that He is the one who sustains us and is working through us really encouraged me throughout this season.

Q. What are you up to this summer?

A. This summer, I'm looking forward spending a few weeks with my family in Houston, TX, and seeing my boyfriend who is visiting from Singapore. Afterwards, I will return to the Chicago area to begin marketing & development preparations for our upcoming season.