‘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.
— Artistic Director Julianna Slager
 
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Artistic Director

Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager is originally from Spring Arbor, Michigan. Slager began her dance training with Mrs. Lori Ladwig and went on to study under notable teachers from Ann Arbor Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, the Vaganova Academy and Puerto Rican National Ballet. Slager enjoyed dancing under Barbara Smith at Greater Lansing Ballet during her training, and also under Kathy Thibodeaux and Sol Maisonet at Ballet Magnificat. Upon moving to Chicago, Slager had the opportunity to work as freelance artist, teacher and choreographer in the Greater Chicago area. Slager was instrumental in the co-founding of Ballet 5:8 in 2012. 

Slager’s choreography has been performed at festivals and events across the Midwest: Dance Chicago, Project Dance, Chicago International Arts Festival, Detroit City Dance Festival. Beginning in 2014, Ballet 5:8 began touring nationally, bringing Slager's critically acclaimed ballets such as Scarlet and The Stor(ies) of You and Me to audiences across the nation. In 2015, Slager was awarded the Individual Artist Program Grant from the City of Chicago for recognition and continued development of her choreographic work. 

In the short span of five years, Slager has enjoyed training and mentoring her first generation of aspiring artists in Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts' Pre-Professional and Conservatory programs, and in the Ballet 5:8 Trainee Program. She has had the joy of watching her students be accepted into many prestigious summer intensive, trainee and year-round programs, including the Kirov Academy, Pittsburg Ballet Theater, Houston Ballet, Washington Ballet, Joffrey Ballet Trainee Program, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Ellison Ballet, School of American Ballet and others.

 

 

Artistic Staff

Lauren Ader-Cumpston
Ballet Mistress

Brette Benedict
Répétiteur, Trainee Program Ballet Mistress

Lorianne Barclay
Resident Costume Designer, Head of Wardrobe

Administrative Staff

Amy Kozol Sanderson
Executive Director

Stephanie Joe
Marketing & Development Associate

Haley Kisch
Administrative Assistant

Lauren Pulkstenis
Administrative Assistant

Board of Directors

Jennifer Maniscalco, President
Director of Product Engagement (VIP), Sears Holdings Corporation

Jeff Kristoff, Treasurer
Senior Manager at Health Care Service Corporation

Michelle Modrzejewski, Secretary
Manager of Community Programs at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Dario Caravette, Board Member
Managing Partner of Affiliated Companies

Katie DeGraaf, Board Member
Senior Consultant at Towers Watson

Michael Abramczyk, Board Member
Technology Specialist

Susan Jillson, Board Member
Chief Estimator at Walsh Construction