Surprised by Joy: Stephanie Joe

Ballet 5:8's 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 Artist Stephanie Joe

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

A. Surprised by Joy depicts a moving story of finding hope and joy in the midst of the most unlikely circumstances. Set to a magical, soaring score by John Adams, the choreography features tender pas de deux moments, intricate patterns and swirling shapes, concluding with an exciting grand finale.

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

A. I am dancing the role of Joy.

Q. Describe the movement. Any surprises?

A. Overall, the movement in Surprised by Joy is challenging in terms of technique and stamina, and it spans various dimensions - my role, which embodies the essence of joy, involves smaller, sprightly movements as well as expansive, sweeping movements. While the movements of the legs and feet require strength and precision, the upper body remains fluid and light. During the choreographic process, Julianna has asked us to move as if we are floating through the air, and on a few occasions, I literally soar through the air in a series of partnered lifts. 

Q. How do you relate to the work? 

A. I've loved having the opportunity to embrace and embody the concept of joy and share it with others in the narrative of the ballet. This joy is something deeper than a lighthearted fleeting moment of happiness and instead comes from a genuine, generous spirit of hope. 

Q. Why see Surprised by Joy?

A. This touching story, beautifully illustrated through intricately crafted choreography and soaring music, will inspire and encourage you that even in the darkest moments, there is still hope, and joy is not far beyond.