‘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’s Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer, Julianna Rubio Slager, is originally from Spring Arbor, Michigan. Slager studied under notable teachers from Ann Arbor Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, the Vaganova Academy and Dance Theater of Harlem. She danced with Greater Lansing Ballet, Ballet Magnificat and as a freelance artist, teacher and choreographer in the Chicago area prior to the creation of Ballet 5:8. She is blessed to be married to Jeremy Slager, the Associate Pastor at St. Paul’s Bible Church, and she lives in south Chicago along with their sons Judah and Jacob. 

As an artist, Slager has a great desire to contribute to the marketplace of cultural, philosophical and religious dialogue that has shaped the course of society for centuries. For this reason, she often chooses subject matter from current social issues, great literature and religious writings. She believes that our society is in need of peaceful catalysts for discussions on the deep moral and ethical topics of our day. This is what she aspires to give to the audience, a thought-provoking performance, free from the constraints and prejudices of spoken language, in order to allow the inward significance of each issue to surface.


Artistic Staff

Lauren Ader-Cumpston
Ballet Mistress

Lorianne Barclay
Resident Costume Designer, Head of Wardrobe

Summer Smith
Production Assistant

Brette Benedict
Répétiteur, Trainee Program Ballet Mistress

Administrative Staff

Amy Kozol Sanderson
Executive Director

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
Manger 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

Reuben Rubio Ph.d, Board Member
Dean of Education at Spring Arbor University