Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director
Ballet 5:8’s Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer, Julianna Slager, is originally from Spring Arbor, Michigan. Slager studied under notable teachers from Ann Arbor Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, the Vaganova Academy and Dance Theater of Harlem. She danced with Greater Lansing Ballet, Ballet Magnificat and as a freelance artist, teacher and choreographer in the Chicago area prior to the creation of Ballet 5:8. Slager and fellow artist Amy Sanderson felt God’s call to start Ballet 5:8 in 2012. As the company's Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer, Slager is the driving force behind Ballet 5:8's ongoing creative exploration and has a growing resume of new works set on Ballet 5:8. Slager is blessed to be married to Jeremy Slager, the Associate Pastor at St. Paul’s Bible Church, and she lives in south Chicago along with their sons Judah and Jacob. As an artist, Slager has a great desire to contribute to the marketplace of cultural, philosophical and religious dialogue that has shaped the course of society for centuries. For this reason, she often chooses subject matter from current social issues, great literature and religious writings. She believes that our society is in need of peaceful catalysts for discussions on the deep moral and ethical topics of our day. This is what she aspires to give to the audience, a thought-provoking performance, free from the constraints and prejudices of spoken language, in order to allow the inward significance of each issue to surface.
Ballet 5:8 Ballet Mistress
Lauren Ader-Cumpston has been Ballet 5:8 Company Artist since 2012, the Ballet 5:8 Ballet Mistress since 2013, and also serves as a senior member of the teaching staff at Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts. She joined Ballet 5:8 in 2012 after training at the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet and performing with their studio company for several years. As a performer, Cumpston regularly dances principal and soloist roles such as Job in The Story of Job, King Darius in Belteshazzar: A Perilous Tale, and the Long Skirt Girl in Musings...Or Don't Take Yourself So Seriously. As an instructor, Cumpston specializes in working with intermediate and advanced training levels. She brings with her an extensive knowledge of Vaganova technique, vocabulary, and port de bras, and an incredible attention to detail.
Trainee Program Ballet Mistress
Brette Benedict has been a Company Artist with Ballet 5:8 since 2014 and regularly performs soloist roles such as King Nebuchadnezzar in Belteshazzar: A Perilous Tale, the Red Skirt Girl in Musings...Or Don't Take Yourself So Seriously, and Bildad in The Story of Job. Benedict began teaching her freshmen year at Indiana University under the direction of Doricha Sales. She taught a range of classes in the IU pre-college program from the youngest children through to their highest level. While at IU she also taught the elective ballet classes for college students. Ms. Brette was given several opportunities for choreographing, more specifically for their higher level students. Since then she has fallen in love with teaching and choreographing. She has also had the opportunity to teach at Cornerstone Academy in Peoria, IL, Rochester City Ballet and DK dance studio in Rochester, NY.
Company Artist Lorianne Barclay was practically raised in an art bubble. Not only is her home town (Portland, Oregon) a very art centered culture, but her family is a mix of fine artists and musicians. As a child, she could be found with her limbs in the most obscure positions. This caused her parents to put her in gymnastics at age three. Later she transitioned to ballet, finding it to be a beautiful arrangement of movement and artistry. She received her early training at Portland Metro Arts, and later went on to studying for 4 years under John Magnus in Portland Festival Ballet’s trainee program. Lorianne joined Ballet 5:8 as a Company Artist in 2013 and serves as the Resident Costume Designer and Head of Wardrobe in addition to continuing to perform with the company.
Company Artist Summer Smith grew up in South Jersey, where she began dancing at a young age. Having an arts focused family, she received exposure to all types of art throughout her childhood and studied painting and drawing under her mentor, Patricia Witt. In high school, Summer decided to begin her serious training at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia. During this time, she received scholarships to study at Orlando Ballet, and in New York, at American Ballet Theatre. Following highschool, Summer attended The University of the Arts for Ballet and Painting. At Uarts, she was selected to perform works by Ronen Koresh, Christine Cox and Anastasia Babeyeva. She also worked with Douglas Becker, of the original Frankfurt Ballet, for his staging of "The Vile Parody of Address" by William Forsythe. During college, Summer dealt with some serious ballet burn-out, and decided to audition primarily for contemporary and jazz companies upon graduation. She is so thankful for God's sense of humor, as he completely pushed her to Ballet 5:8 and transformed her mindset with his overwhelming grace.