From the whispers of the past we hear a resound that cannot be silenced. Every human, male or female, beautiful or plain, desirable or marginalized, born of privilege or born of poverty, each one is precious and created with purpose.


The remnants of art from the nearly forgotten children of Terezin beckon each of us to see the future with clear eyes that recognize and protect the deepest magic there is - the chaos and wonder that is the gift of life.

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Grand Rapids | October 5
Orland Park | October 12-13
Dayton | October 19
Milwaukee | February 22
Des Moines | April 4
Kalamazoo | April 18-19



“Amazing expression of emotion in dance. The simplest movement could tell the story…”

-Audience Member, Butterfly World Premiere


You can join the conversation.

Following each performance, audience members are invited to attend a TalkBack panel discussion. During this informal Q&A, you'll have the opportunity to talk with Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager and Artists of the Company about your experience during the performance. What did you see? What did the performance make you feel or think? What questions do you have? All comments and questions are welcome. 


The various artworks left behind by this great woman and the children of Terezin are their legacy to the present, to all of us today. They demand that we continue in our quest for a society that truly treasures human life, transcending all differences of race, religion, politics and ideology….
— -Tokyo Fuji Art Museum founder Daisaku Ikeda

Butterfly: Hope in the Terezin Ghetto


Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager’s World Premiere for the 2019/20 Season, Butterfly, shares a story of hope inspired by the collection of poems and artwork published as I Never Saw Another Butterfly.

During the Holocaust, the Nazi’s settled 140,000 Jews in the town of Terezin. Nazi propaganda promoted it as a “spa town” where Jewish children and elderly could retire in safety away from the forced labor camps. The ghetto in Terezin existed for 3 ½ years and caused the death of 90% of its residents.

From the ashes of this hellscape, glimmers of hope emerge. A Jewish art teacher refuses to let the children of Terezin die without hope. She challenges her students to create art that speaks of their misery but also of the hope that lies within. As the residents of Terezin die of malnutrition and debilitating disease, one survivor collects these works of art to tell the story of human evil, suffering and resilience.

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