Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Slager's Eden premiered at the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago on February 27th. It will go onstage again in Jackson MI, Denver CO, and Fort Wayne IN as part of Ballet 5:8's Out of the Dust program. Eden asks, have you sit back and really imagined what the creation could have looked looked like? Those first days? Slager uses playful yet technical, bold, and neoclassical choreography to paint a moving, colorful picture of those first days. This month, we decided to catch up with the cast from Eden and get a behind-the-scenes look at the creation process behind the ballet.
Q. Of the roles you dance in Eden, which is your favorite or stands out to you?
A. I dance the part of "Earth" and am also a "Fish" that was created along with the birds of the air on the 5th day of creation. Dancing as earth is a weird concept because as I'm dancing I'll say to myself, "I'm dirt. Be dirt!" and that's not normally something we tell ourselves as positive reinforcement for our brains or our ego, but it is something that helps me get away from dancing like a human. You'll have to wait until the 6th day for that!
Q. What has the creation process been like for the choreography?
A. Julianna always adds special nuances into choreography specific to a character or emotion you should embody. When Christina Perry and I are dancing as "Fish" Ms. Julianna told us at one point when or heads are tilted up that we should purse our lips together as dolphins often do when they slip their heads up out of the sea and spurt water into the air! How can you not smile when you are literally trying to dance like a dolphin onstage? You'll have to check it out at our next performance of Eden and see if you can spot our fish faces!
Q. How does the movement communicate?
A. I feel it's very literal while still leaving some room for imagination. We don't know exactly how radiant the very first beam of light was, how calm or upset the waves of the waters crashed, or even how wobbly the tiger's first steps were, but we can imagine.
Q. What has been most enjoyable/most challenging about tackling the role?
A. It has really been more challenging personally to watch the ballet itself, simply because I didn't realize before how little I think about every detail God spoke into being when creating this world. There was a specific day set aside for each respective part of nature that we see every morning when we wake up! It's no wonder God needed that 7th day to rest!
Q. Why see Eden?
A. Everything you just read is a reason!