ENTERTAINMENT

‘The Sleeping Beauty’ dancer returns to stage after life-threatening illness

Feb 14, 2023, 6:57 PM | Updated: 7:21 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Ballet West is celebrating its latest production “The Sleeping Beauty” and the return of one of its dancers from a life-threatening health crisis.

We often use the word ‘ magical’ to describe a Ballet West production. “The Sleeping Beauty” with the stunning sets and costumes, royalty, and fairies is certainly that.

When it comes to young dancer, Loren Walton, the word is ‘miracle.’

“I just woke up in the morning one day, about to go to the studio to start rehearsals and I had this major pain in my stomach that I’d never had before,” Walton said. “So I called emergency and they came.”

He spent ten days in the Intensive Care Unit at the end of September. Doctors diagnosed a twisting of his small bowel, life-threatening sepsis had set in and doctors gave him a 10% chance of survival. “I had two surgeries, one where they actually removed six feet of my small intestine and from there, it was like, learning how to walk, learning how to stand,” Walton said.

He lost 40 pounds and discovered he could no longer balance his weight – shocking for a dancer.

“It was all so crazy because now it didn’t come naturally to me, after this whole thing but I still felt like I had ballet inside of me,” he explained.

A couple of months after returning to the company, Walton started dancing in a full-length production as a member of the ballet corps, leaping and lifting ballerinas.

“Just a lot of perseverance, a lot of faith, and just the hope that I will be able to be back where I was before all of this happened and maybe even in a better place,” he said.

Walton went from nearly losing his life to taking center stage at the Capitol Theatre. “It feels like a dream again to be back on stage and to be doing this again, every day,” he said.

Walton is grateful to his mother, siblings, his ballet colleagues, and the ballet staff for their constant care of him and he believes that trials are given to all of us to learn something, and he now has that message.

“I feel blessed to share that with other people,” he said.

He expresses that new-found hope through his love of dance.

Ballet West’s “The Sleeping Beauty” performances continue through February 18th.

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‘The Sleeping Beauty’ dancer returns to stage after life-threatening illness