Surprised by Joy: Lauren Pulkstenis

Ballet 5:8's repertory program The Stor(ies) of You and Me returns to the stage this spring in cities across the nation. One of the great things about a repertory program is the variety - both for the audience and the dancers! With five different works presented in Stor(ies), there is truly something for everyone watching. There is also quite the depth of experience available - the works represent a wide range of movement styles, emotion and stories told. This winter and spring, we'll continue digging into this depth of experience as we check in with the dancers and hear about their experiences preparing for Stor(ies) behind the scenes.

Company Apprentice Lauren Pulkstenis

Q. Based on your experience so far, how would you describe Surprised by Joy?

A. Surprised By Joy is a whirlwind of a piece that has a lot of challenging technique as well as a powerful story. Julianna has challenged what the corps work of a typical ballet piece looks like to create something that has a heightened level of intricacy. 

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

A. I've been dancing in the corps of Surprised by Joy, which has been a great introduction to performing with Ballet 5:8 for me. The music and choreography have challenged me in ways that have helped me to grow. 

Q. Describe the movement. Any surprises?

A. The movement is fresh, breathy, and exciting. We as the corps represent a sort of echo of the main Joy character, so there are a lot of moments when we seem to float or swirl around her. There is a lightness to the movement, even in the more somber beginning of the piece, that swells as the ballet goes on. 

Q. How do you relate to the work?

A. Surprised by Joy is about discovering the hope and joy that can only be found in closeness to God; which can speak louder than our circumstances and allow us to be joyful even in dark times. This ballet has challenged me to think more about how I value things in my life. It reminds me that joy is mine and cannot be taken from me, and that there is even greater joy waiting for us at the end of our earthly lives. 

Q. Why see Surprised by Joy?

A. Surprised by Joy has multiple layers of beauty. The music is grand and inspiring. The choreography is innovative and breathtaking. The story is moving and triumphant. This ballet has a contagious energy about it that leaves audiences invigorated and wanting more.