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 really enjoy the role of jungle animal and being able to portray being a tiger with the attack and sassiness of movement quality. The learning process for the choreography was a fun experience as Julianna was challenging herself to use African dance movement influence.
Q. What has the creation process been like for the choreography?
A. The creation process was a great experience as we read in depth and discussed Genesis 1 during our devotion time. Having a deeper understanding of each day of creation and the process made me develop a whole new appreciation for the seven days of creation. Julianna also did a wonderful job researching the different elements and animals and their characteristics and movement qualities to help us embody all the different styles within the ballet.
Q. How does the movement communicate?
A. The movement styles and qualities Julianna picked for each day communicates how each day of creation would be when God first put it into form. Each day uses different formations and styles to create a picture for the audience of how creation was before the fall.
Q. What has been most enjoyable/most challenging about tackling the role?
A. The most challenging role for me is Water and keeping the flowing movement qualities in time and precise with one another. The music for water is filled with expression with the use of the cello and violin and the neoclassical movement compliments the music perfectly making the dance feel like waves moving back in forth the water.
I also really enjoy the role of being a fish that is made up pretty much all petit and grand allegro jumps. The music and movement is very playful which makes portraying being a dolphin very enjoyable.
Q. Why see Eden?
A. Eden is a beautiful ballet that allows us dancers and audience members to appreciate the creation God planned and made with such detail and wonder. Eden reminds us of the greatness of our God and how truly incredible the world He made is and how we as His creation are called to bring glory to Him in all that we do.