The art form of ballet originated in the 15th and 16th centuries, developed as theatrical spectacle for the entertainment of the nobles in Italy and France. Dancing masters taught the steps to the nobility, and the court participated in the performances. Over time, however, the art form has evolved substantially. Thanks to the ongoing creative exploration of the dancers, directors, choreographers, and composers throughout ballet's history, the ballets of the 21st century combine music, aesthetics, innovation and remarkable athletic feats to achieve an incredible experience for audience members and performers alike. Ballet 5:8 is are privileged to be an active part of this incredible field for the 2015-2016 season. 

Will You Join Us?

As we look forward to the upcoming season, we are excited to announce the commission of four dynamic new works. We are confident that, together with our existing repertoire, these new works will make it possible for us to continue to present you, our audiences, with what we've promised: honest, relevant, and breathtaking dance performances. This season, you will have the opportunity to see performances that engage your senses in the experience of something beautiful. But even more so, you will be able to see performances that challenge us all to reflect on on some of the most pressing social, cultural and spiritual conversations of our day. You do not need any special knowledge, prior experience, or training in dance terminology to get in on this: simply join us. Put a performance on your calendar. Sit back, take it all in, and see what you think. After the performance, join us for a Talk Back and let us know what you thought. 


The Choreographers

Ballet 5:8 Guest Choreographer Preston Miller

Ballet 5:8 Guest Choreographer Preston Miller

Preston Miller

This September, we will open our Fall Season with a mixed program at the Athenaeum Theatre, set to include two world premieres. One of those premieres will be a work choreographed by Preston Miller, Ballet 5:8's first guest choreographer. Miller will be exploring concepts of mercy and grace in the new work, And Mercy. A Chicago native, Miller is most recently known for his short film Enemy Within featuring an unlikely group of top performing artists - YouTube sensation Marquese Scott, New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck, former Alvin Ailey dancer Matthew Rushing, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Samantha Figgins. Miller currently serves as the Artistic Director of the United Artist Initiative and works as a choreographer in New York City. Miller's choreography has been performed by many companies including Grand Rapids Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and by members of New York City Ballet. Miller's work for Ballet 5:8, using his athletic, contemporary style, will add yet a new flavor to Ballet 5:8's increasingly diverse repertoire.

Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Slager

“‘The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.’ This quote, by the great philosopher Aristotle sums up my view on choreography. Dance can be reduced to a mere technical form of beats, steps and geometrically pleasing formations, in contrast art must bring out for the audience a significance that would otherwise remain veiled. It is my goal, in each of my works, to bring something to the audience that causes them to see a familiar story or thought from a new perspective. This manifests in many different forms, from narrative to abstract works, this is the common thread in my body of work.” 

Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director and Resdient Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager

Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director and Resdient Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager

Ballet 5:8’s Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer, Julianna Rubio 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.