‘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

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. 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 six 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.



Executive Director

Ballet 5:8 Executive Director Amy Kozol Sanderson received her classical ballet training at Ballet Quad Cities School of Dance in Rock Island, IL under former Ballet Quad Cities Artistic Director Johanne Jakhelln Constant. She performed with the Ballet Quad Cities professional company, with Ballet Magnificat in Jackson, MS, and later with Ballet 5:8 until stepping back from the stage in 2015. During her performing career, Sanderson danced several soloist roles created for her including Miep in Johanne Jakhellen's The Story of a Young Girl’s Life, an original ballet based on the Diary of Anne Frank, and The Accuser in Julianna Slager's The Story of Job. She has BA in Professional Writing and Business Administration, Magna Cum Laude, and worked in the administrative offices at the Joffrey Academy of Dance prior to becoming one of the co-founders of Ballet 5:8 in 2012. Sanderson is honored to help make honest, relevant, breathtaking dance possible through her role as Ballet 5:8 Executive Director.



Lauren Bowker
Managing Director

Antonio Rosario
Ballet Master

Brette Benedict
Répétiteur, Trainee Program Director

Lorianne Barclay
Resident Costume Designer, Head of Wardrobe

Stephanie Joe
Marketing & Development Associate

Lana Kozol
Media Associate

Annika Grasman
Touring Coordinator

Board of Directors

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

Susan Jillson, Treasurer
Chief Estimator at Walsh Construction

Lisa M. Wainwright, Secretary
Arts Advocate

Dario Caravette, Board Member
Managing Partner of Affiliated Companies

Tara Torkelson
Enablement Program Manager, ServiceNow

Eva JaBaay
Homeschool Mom and Classical Conversations Tutor

Linda Jillson
Expert Solutions Developer at Acxiom