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.
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.
Répétiteur, Trainee Program Ballet Mistress
Resident Costume Designer, Head of Wardrobe
Marketing & Development Associate
Haley Kisch, Olivia Kruse
Board of Directors
Jennifer Maniscalco, President
Director of Product Engagement (VIP), Sears Holdings Corporation
Susan Jillson, Treasurer
Chief Estimator at Walsh Construction
Michelle Modrzejewski, Secretary
Education Faculty Head at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Dario Caravette, Board Member
Managing Partner of Affiliated Companies
Katie DeGraaf, Board Member
Director of Product - Insurance Solutions at Arity
Jeff Kristoff, Board Member
Lisa M. Wainwright
Volunteer Coordinator at MorningStar Mission Ministries, Inc.