#ExperienceSI - Valerie Linsner

Over the next few months, we'll be posting some interviews with students who have attended Ballet 5:8's Summer Intensive Programs in the past. What did these dancers think? Keep reading to find out. 

Interview: Valerie Linsner

Q. How old are you, where are you from, and how long have you been dancing?

A. I am fifteen, I live in Champaign, IL, and I have been dancing for over eight years.

Q: Are you doing a Nutcracker or other Christmas ballet this year? What role(s)? A: Yes, my home ballet company just completed their run of the Nutcracker. In addition to dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, I danced as the Maid in the Party scene, an Ice Fairy in the Land of Snow, and a Flower in the Waltz of the Flowers.

Q: How did you find out about Ballet 5:8, and what led you to decide to audition for the 2014 intensive? 

A: I first heard of Ballet 5:8 in December of 2012 on the radio when they were advertising for their Christmas show, The Carpenter's Son. I ended up coming to see the performance and talked to Mrs. Slager (Ballet 5:8's Artistic Director) after the show. The major thing that led me to Ballet 5:8's summer intensive was the location--Frankfort, IL is a lot closer than Jackson, MS, home of Ballet Magnificat. After learning, growing, and loving the intensive in 2013, I returned the summer of 2014.

Q: What did you gain from your experience at the intensive, technically? How about spiritually?

A: I gained exposure to different types of dance, like contemporary and modern (at my home studio, it is almost strictly ballet), and I stretched my limits of exhaustion and fatigue (when they say "intensive," they are not kidding).

Since attending the intensive twice, it has been interesting to look back on the different ways I grew in my walk with the Lord both of the times I went.  I went into the first intensive with a question in mind--can I glorify God with my dancing, and if so, how?  Not only did I learn that YES! Glorifying God in dance is completely possible, but God also revealed to me why we need to glorify Him in everything we do--because He literally sent His only Son to die. for. us. THAT'S CRAZY! He loves us so much! How can we do anything but praise Him in everything that we do?!  I came away from that intensive with a new philosophy on life and completely refreshed and encouraged.

The summer of 2014, I was eager to see what God had in store since He revealed so much the previous year. The second time I went, God showed me things much more subtly. Instead of a great revelation, He made me really look at what was going on around me and think. I got to see other people's lives being changed. Here is one thing that I experienced at Ballet 5:8's intensive both of the times I went--I felt a special connection with God in my dancing that I had never felt before.

Q: What was your favorite aspect of the intensive?

A: I do not know what aspect of the intensive was my favorite, but the spiritual aspect was definitely the most powerful.

Q: Based on your experience, what advice would you give a dancer considering Ballet 5:8’s 2015 intensive?  

A: If someone is considering Ballet 5:8's intensive, I would tell them to not only pray and listen to God's leading, but I would also tell them that Ballet 5:8 is different. Their intensive is not just a thing where you get to have great teachers and staff, make new friends, and dance all day, although it is that too.  It is a powerful experience that you will never forget.


Valerie was recently featured in a The News-Gazette article with photos as she took the stage in the lead role, the Sugarplum Fairy, in Champaign Urbana Ballet's The Nutcracker.