Welcoming Christine Janak

It is our pleasure to welcome Christine Janak to Ballet 5:8 as an Apprentice for the 2016-2017 Season. Here on the blog, we are asking each of the new dancers a few questions so we can get to know them ahead of the upcoming season. 

Q. Where will you be coming to Ballet 5:8 from? Where are you from originally?

A. I grew up in Colorado; I loved the mountains, the wildlife and the fresh air. I lived for a few years in various countries in Europe; mainly Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. I have very recently returned to Colorado to get married!

Q. What attracted you to Ballet 5:8?

A. I was attracted to the mission of Ballet 5:8 which speaks to me on multiple levels. I was raised in a Christian home, but it wasn’t until I left home for a dance career that the importance of God’s calling really hit home for me. I believe God can and does speak to us indirectly through the service and love of others and invites all of us to be that love. I have experience with dance as storytelling to provoke emotion or conversation. However, I was thrilled at the prospect of be part of something that would evoke emotion and conversation about faith, and the love and mercy of Christ. I appreciate Ballet 5:8’s commitment to serving the community. Matching all this with the beauty and technical precision I saw in Ballet 5:8’s dancers in their finesse of storytelling through classical dance really motivated me to audition and join this company.

Q. Why do you dance?

A. I dance for three reasons; the fun of the chase, my family, and my God.

 I began dancing at the age of three but when I went onto pointe at twelve dancing became something more. I went from enjoying dance to chasing after it. I became passionate about the pursuit of ballet. I decided that this was going to be my life. I dance for the "ah-ha moment" that comes after days of disappointment when something finally goes right. Perfection can never be achieved. Ballet can never be captured, but for fleeting moments of ecstasy I might just catch a glimpse of what it’s true form is.

My Father was my biggest fan. He always encouraged me to pursue dance and be the best I could be. He loved to watch me dance and there was always a special moment in a performance that he would signal me from the audience with a tilt of his head and if I saw him I would signal back, just a tilt of the head to say ”I’m here for you” and “I see you”. In 2010 my father was killed in a plane crash, but I have never lost the feeling of “I’m here for you” and “I see you” when I perform. I dance my best for my Dad who believed in me. My mother instilled in me the value of hard work and motivation from a young age. She made so many sacrifices so that I could dance. She worked part time so that she could still drive me across town to take lessons. She would sit for hours while I took class or rehearsed. She encouraged and supported me in so many ways and that never stopped even when, after the plane crash, she lost her leg and was hospitalized from many injuries. She now wears a prosthetic leg and works full time as a nurse. I am inspired by her and I want to make her proud. She can walk and do many more things than she thought she would be able to, but she can’t really dance, so I dance for her.

Lastly I want to give back. God has blessed me in so many ways and I try to remind myself of that anytime I’m in danger of being ungrateful. I have a passion for dance, I have the ability to dance, I have aspects of my physique that make it easier to dance, and I have challenges so that dance isn’t boring, I had the support financial, emotional, and temporal of my family and these are thanks to God. God has put all this joy in my life and I want to share it and what better way than to dance. 

Q. What is something you enjoy about Chicago or think you’ll enjoy about Chicago?

A. I am so excited to be moving to Chicago. It is nice to be back home (in Colorado), but I feel like my life has been a bit paused. Moving to a big city is thrilling by itself and the fact that it is such a diverse and artistic hot spot just makes it better. I also am not going to lie I am really looking forward to the food! I visited Chicago briefly before and I have to say the authenticity of world cuisine in this city is spectacular.

Q. What is one thing people will be surprised to learn about you?

A. I don’t know if there’s anything really surprising about me. I might be a tad odd, but I am definitely an open book. I love dance of course and reading and tea and singing and photography and Photoshop and swings and new people and languages and getting lost and travel and roller-coaster and Doctor Who and being helpful and telling stories and mismatched socks and old buildings and sunsets and generally being spontaneous. I have some definite irregularities, but I’d hardly say it might surprise people. If you know I love travel and being spontaneous then it won’t surprise you that I’ve lived in Europe. If you know I’ve lived in Europe it won’t surprise you that I’m married to a Czech and love to drink tea. If you know I love languages it won’t surprise you that I can speak French, some German, and am trying to learn Czech. These things simply go hand in hand and so on. 

Q. What are you most looking forward to about this performing season? 

A. I am looking forward to meeting all the members ofBballet 5:8 and I hope for us to really become a community of dancers. I am thrilled to perform and tour with such an excellent company and I just can’t wait for this season to start!