Strangers and Angels: Samuel Opsal

Ballet 5:8's program Compass returns to the stage this spring in cities across the nation. Made up of four individual one-act ballets, one of the great things about Compass is its variety - both for the audience and the dancers! The works in Compass represent a wide range of movement styles, emotion and stories told, so there is truly something for everyone watching. Throughout this 2017/18 Season, we'll be checking in with the dancers to hear about their experiences preparing for and performing Compass: Navigating Cultural Tension with Compassion.

 Samuel opsal with artists of the company in the opening of the 2017 movement of  Strangers and angels .

Samuel opsal with artists of the company in the opening of the 2017 movement of Strangers and angels.

Company Artist Samuel Opsal

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

A. I am dancing in both the 1917 and 2017 sections of the ballet. My character is married in both, with a child in the 1917 era.

Q. How would you describe Strangers and Angels?

 Samuel Opsal with artists of the company in the 1917 movement of  Strangers and Angels .

Samuel Opsal with artists of the company in the 1917 movement of Strangers and Angels.

A. Strangers and Angels is a work depicting refugee crises in both 1917 and 2017. The emotional piece uses dance to portray the crisis as a human issue that is relatable rather than just a political matter.

Q. Describe the movement. Any surprises?

A. The movement differs quite a lot from the other works in the Compass bill. It uses movements taken from real life and accents them with dynamic change. Walking, running and falling are used in conjunction with contemporary dance phrases to create the visceral movement vocabulary of the piece.

Q. What do you most enjoy about the work?

A. I most enjoy using the movement dynamics in the choreography to show the struggles of my character. Throughout the process we have avoided becoming overly theatrical but rather use the movement through our entire body to convey emotion.

Q. Why see Strangers and Angels?

A. The vivid portrayal of two different times, 100 years apart, showing the mirrored aspects between the eras is a powerful ending to the Compass program.