The Nutcracker with a Ballet 5:8 Twist Makes Valparaiso Debut this December

The Nutcracker with a Ballet 5:8 Twist Makes Valparaiso Debut this December

This December, local students attending classes at Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts’ Valparaiso Satellite Campus will be performing in Ballet 5:8’s first-ever performance of Beyond the Nutcracker held in Indiana, at Valparaiso High School. The company’s signature twist on the classic Nutcracker ballet features local cast members from its dance education programs, all custom-designed costumes and sets, original choreography by Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager, and lead roles danced by guest artists from the Ballet 5:8 professional company including Lead Artists Antonio Rosario and Brette Benedict, and Company Artist Sam Opsal. This Ballet 5:8 twist on the classic Nutcracker invites audiences to join Emma for a magical adventure that leads from World War II London to the very first Christmas.

Read More

The Nutcracker with a Ballet 5:8 Twist Returns to New Lenox this December

The Nutcracker with a Ballet 5:8 Twist Returns to New Lenox this December

Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts, the dance education center of professional performing company Ballet 5:8, will bring its signature rendition of The Nutcracker to Lincoln Way West High School on December 15-16.  Ballet 5:8, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Frankfort, is dedicated to engaging communities in Chicago, the Midwest and across the nation in conversation of life and faith through innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance. The company’s Beyond the Nutcracker features 150 local cast members from its nationally-recognized classical ballet training programs, all custom-designed costumes and sets, and lead roles danced by guest artists from the Ballet 5:8 professional company including Lead Artists Antonio Rosario and Brette Benedict, and Company Artist Sam Opsal. This Ballet 5:8 twist on the classic Nutcracker invites audiences to join Emma for a magical adventure that leads from World War II London to the very first Christmas.

Read More

New Illinois Arts Council Agency Grant: Ballet 5:8 Continuing to Invest in Illinois Communities

New Illinois Arts Council Agency Grant: Ballet 5:8 Continuing to Invest in Illinois Communities

Ballet Five Eight NFP (Ballet 5:8), a Frankfort, Illinois based nonprofit arts organization, has been awarded a second grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency in the amount of $12,900, for general operating support. The grant will be partially supporting operations between September, 2018 and August, 2019. Ballet 5:8 is committed to investing in Illinois communities, artists and residents through high-quality, accessible dance education and performance and is thrilled to have this operating support for the 2018/19 season.

Read More

Ballet 5:8 Brings Re-Imagined C.S. Lewis to Fort Wayne

Ballet 5:8 Brings Re-Imagined C.S. Lewis to Fort Wayne

Now in its 7th performance season, Ballet 5:8 returns to Fort Wayne this November with The Space in Between. What if heaven is nearer than we think? What if we carry inside of us the darkness of hell? Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager’s newest work draws inspiration from The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, using Ballet 5:8’s signature blend of innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance to explore the nature of eternity and the joy found on its shores.

Read More

Ballet 5:8 Re-Imagines C.S. Lewis Through New Work

Ballet 5:8 Re-Imagines C.S. Lewis Through New Work

CHICAGO – Now in its 7th performance season, Ballet 5:8 returns to The Athenaeum Theatre with The Space in Between. What if heaven is nearer than we think?  What if we carry inside of us the darkness of hell? Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager’s newest work draws inspiration from The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, using Ballet 5:8’s signature blend of innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance to explore the nature of eternity and the joy found on its shores.

Read More

Ballet 5:8 Brings Re-Imagined C. S. Lewis to Dayton

Ballet 5:8 Brings Re-Imagined C. S. Lewis to Dayton

Now in its 7th performance season, Ballet 5:8 debuts in Western Ohio this October with The Space in Between. What if heaven is nearer than we think? What if we carry inside of us the darkness of hell? Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager’s newest work draws inspiration from The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, using Ballet 5:8’s signature blend of innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance to explore the nature of eternity and the joy found on its shores.

Read More

Ballet 5:8 Brings Re-Imagined C.S. Lewis to Grand Rapids

Ballet 5:8 Brings Re-Imagined C.S. Lewis to Grand Rapids

Now in its 7th performance season, Ballet 5:8 returns to Grand Rapids this October with The Space in Between, after a debut performance of Compass: Navigating Cultural Tension with Compassion in 2017. What if heaven is nearer than we think?  What if we carry inside of us the darkness of hell? Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager’s newest work draws inspiration from The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, using Ballet 5:8’s signature blend of innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance to explore the nature of eternity and the joy found on its shores.

Read More

Ballet 5:8 "Compass" Chicago Encore Partners with World Relief to Inspire Compassion

CHICAGO – Ballet 5:8 will close out its Sixth Performing Season this April with an encore performance based on the company’s popular 2017 premiere Compass. The April engagement, scheduled as part of Chicago Dance Month, features all four works from the original program on the topic of navigating cultural tension with compassion. The performance will be presented as Compass Project, with a portion of each ticket sold donated to World Relief. World Relief is a national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago and Aurora, IL. The nonprofit stands with refugees and immigrants and partners with local churches to end the cycle of suffering, transform lives and build sustainable communities. Ballet 5:8’s single Chicago performance of Compass Project will be held on Saturday, April 28 at 7:00pm at Moody Bible Institute - Solheim Center, 930 N Wells St., Chicago, IL. Attendees are additionally invited to attend a post-performance Q&A with artists and choreographers from the performance. Tickets are $20 general admission, and $10 for college students and children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased online at ballet58.org or by calling 312-725-4752. Performance information is available at ballet58.org/compass-project-chicago.

Compass Project uses contemporary ballet and storytelling to consider the pressing issues of the day - not in a political or divisive sense, but simply through the lens of compassion. The four ballets in the program (originally premiered as “Compass” 2017) include works inspired by the poems of African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist, Sojourner Truth, and Pulitzer Prize author and Chicagoan, Gwendolyn Brooks. Reviewer Kristi Licera of Dancermusic.com called Compass in Chicago “an evening of inspired choreography and thought-provoking performance.” Ken Norris, of WKTV Journal, reviewed Ballet 5:8’s Grand Rapids performance and noted the “on-stage presence and prowess of solo dancers Stephanie Joe and especially Antonio Rosario” in All God’s Children, as well as the “the sparse, incredibly emotional The Mother, and the dancing perfection of lead dancer Lorianne Barclay.”

Another of the ballets in the program, Strangers & Angels, is inspired by the 1917 Armenian refugee crisis - which in the ballet, is juxtaposed with the Syrian refugee crisis of our present day. The ballet is the basis of Ballet 5:8’s collaboration with nonprofit World Relief for the April 28th performance. World Relief offices in Aurora, IL, and Chicago will benefit from Compass Project ticket sales and will also participate in the post-performance Q&A. The nonprofit organization serves both refugees and immigrants, providing them with the services they need to successfully integrate into life in their new communities. World Relief offers English classes, an early childhood program, after-school tutoring for youth, summer youth clubs, job referral services and job readiness classes, counseling services, case management, and more.

“When Ballet 5:8 approached us about collaborating on this performance of Compass,” says Tabitha McDuffee of World Relief Aurora/DuPage, “we jumped at the opportunity. The message of Compass - navigating cultural tension with compassion - complements perfectly World Relief’s mission of welcoming refugees and immigrants. We don’t deny the tension that can result when people from different countries and cultures live together in one community. However, World Relief does maintain that the Bible commands us to love and welcome the stranger. We hope that Compass, and especially the final ballet, Strangers & Angels, will give people a new and unique look at refugees and stir them to act compassionately toward them.” McDuffee also says that World Relief “has been blessed by the generosity of Ballet 5:8, their commitment to excellence in their art, and their desire to facilitate challenging conversations.”

Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer, Julianna Rubio Slager, is co-founder of the six-year old company and brings a wealth of experience to her work. 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, The Stor(ies) of You and Me, and Compass to audiences across the nation. Slager is also a groundbreaking figure within the field, as one of the few female Artistic Directors and Resident Choreographers of professional ballet companies in the world. As a woman with Hispanic heritage, she hopes that her leadership and creative work at Ballet 5:8 will pave the way for other women and minorities in professional ballet.

Ballet 5:8 Collaborates on Navigating Cultural Tensions with Compassion

CHICAGO – Ballet 5:8 will return to the Mark O’Donnell Theater at the Actors Fund Arts Center in Brooklyn this April with the New York premiere of its collaborative program Compass Project. The two performances feature a range of original dance performances by Ballet 5:8 and guest companies Vivid Ballet (Hartford, CT) and Emma Elliott Dance (New York, NY) on the topic of navigating cultural tension with compassion. Compass Project stretches across time and space to explore some of the most pressing topics in our country and in our cities today. At times witty and satirical, and at times deeply emotional, the program is full of athleticism, power and poetry. The two performances (which are not identical) will be held on Saturday, April 7 at 7:30pm and Sunday, April 8 at 2:00pm at the Mark O’Donnell Theater at the Actors Fund Arts Center, 160 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Attendees are additionally invited to attend a post-performance Q&A with artists and choreographers from the performance. Tickets are $28 for adults, $24 for students and seniors, and $15 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased online at ballet58.org or by calling 312-725-4752. Performance information is available at ballet58.org/compass-project.

A unique 12-dancer professional company, Ballet 5:8’s mission is shaped by a desire to engage audiences in conversation through innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance. Compass Project is based on the theme “navigating cultural tension with compassion” and is inspired by a desire to consider the pressing issues of the day - not in a political or divisive sense, but simply through the lens of compassion.

The four ballets in Ballet 5:8’s original Compass program (premiered in Chicago in November, 2017) include works inspired by the poems of African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist, Sojourner Truth, and Pulitzer Prize author and Chicagoan, Gwendolyn Brooks, as well as one inspired by the 1917 Armenian refugee crisis, juxtaposed with the Syrian refugee crisis of our present day. Reviewer Kristi Licera of Dancermusic.com called Compass in Chicago “an evening of inspired choreography and thought-provoking performance.” Ken Norris, of WKTV Journal, reviewed Ballet 5:8’s 2017 Grand Rapids performance and noted the “on-stage presence and prowess of solo dancers Stephanie Joe and especially Antonio Rosario” in All God’s Children, as well as the “the sparse, incredibly emotional The Mother, and the dancing perfection of lead dancer Lorianne Barclay.”

In Ballet 5:8’s 2018 reimagining of the bill as Compass Project for New York City, collaborating companies Vivid Ballet and Emma Elliott Dance will also be contributing works and conversation in the post-performance Q&A. “I am excited to see all of our work on stage creating a meaningful show about navigating cultural tension with compassion,” says Emma Elliott, Artistic Director of Emma Elliott Dance. “The timing of this performance could not be more needed by our society and community in New York City.” The performance, as she describes it, “is about real issues, real stories, and navigating through our lives with honor, integrity, and compassion.”

Emma Elliott Dance will be performing three original works during the two performances. One, To the Least, deals with the topic of homelessness in New York City. Another, All of a Sudden, looks at the twists and turns of life. “When we feel we have nothing left,” says Elliott about the work, “there is always hope and redemption.” Vivid Ballet, under the direction of Elizabeth McMillan, will be contributing two works to the bill. One of these, Image of the Invisible, also explores themes of brokenness, vitality and redemption.

Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager is co-founder of the six-year old company and brings a wealth of experience to her work. 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, The Stor(ies) of You and Me, and Compass to audiences across the nation. Slager is also a groundbreaking figure within the field, as one of the few female Artistic Directors and Resident Choreographers of professional ballet companies in the world. As a woman with Hispanic heritage, she hopes that her leadership and creative work at Ballet 5:8 will pave the way for other women and minorities in professional ballet.

Ballet 5:8 Brings Groundbreaking Ballet-Film Adaption of American Classic to the Paramount Theatre

CHICAGO – Ballet 5:8 will bring its film/dance hybrid production inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter to Anderson’s Paramount Theater this March. The company’s dramatic adaptation pairs original choreography by Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager and a stunning score by American modernist composer Charles Ives with film elements directed by Preston Miller and Spoken Word created by Chicago artist Kylla Pate. Scarlet delves into the timeless struggles of hypocrisy, shame and ultimately, the hope of redemption. After the performance, audience members are invited to discuss their experience and ask questions during open panel discussion with Slager and artists of the company. The single Anderson performance will be held on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 7:00pm. Tickets range from $25-$32 and are $15 for college students and children 12 and under. Tickets are available at ballet58.org or by calling 312-725-4752. Performance information is available at ballet58.org/scarlet.

Audience members at the world premiere of Scarlet described the ballet as “spectacular,” and “brilliantly choreographed.” Scarlet follows the iconic Hester Prynne as she wrestles with her open guilt and grief in a judgmental society, while Reverend Dimmesdale suffers in silence with his secret sin and love. The story of Scarlet is difficult, but that is what makes redemption shine so brightly.

In addition to Ballet 5:8 professional dancers, the performance will feature local cast members. Dancers from Anderson Young Ballet under the direction of Jennifer Theimet will include: Angela Molina (Young Pearl), and Natalia and Paula Molina (Pearl’s Children).

Scarlet is on the cutting edge of multidisciplinary art. The production weaves the visual strength of film and the emotional impact of Spoken Word into the beauty, grace and power of ballet. Each artistic discipline adds a unique texture and voice into the narrative, creating a multi-layered and dynamic experience within a timeless story.

According to Johnny Nevin of Dancermusic.com, “Ballet 5:8 is an imaginative, hard-working group of artists with some very carefully thought out ideas.” Ballet 5:8’s passion for telling captivating stories - such as those from classic literature - using ballet, other artistic disciplines, and a 21st century perspective comes from the company’s mission: to engage audiences in conversation of life and faith through innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance.

Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager is co-founder of the six-year old Ballet 5:8 and brings a wealth of experience to her work. 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, The Stor(ies) of You and Me, and Compass to audiences across the nation. Slager is also a groundbreaking figure within the field, as one of the few female Artistic Directors and Resident Choreographers of professional ballet companies in the world. As a woman with Hispanic heritage, she hopes that her leadership and creative work at Ballet 5:8 will pave the way for other women and minorities in professional ballet.

Ballet 5:8 Brings American Classic The Scarlet Letter to Life with Groundbreaking Ballet-Film Production

CHICAGO – Ballet 5:8 is celebrating its Fifth Anniversary by exploring uncharted territory with a film/dance hybrid rendition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. The full-length ballet follows the iconic Hester Prynne as she wrestles with her open guilt and grief in a judgmental society, while Reverend Dimmesdale suffers in silence with his secret sin and love. This classic story delves into the timeless struggles of hypocrisy, shame and ultimately, the hope of redemption. Performances will be held on Saturday, March 18 at 7:30pm and Sunday, March 19 at 2:00pm at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 Southport Avenue, Chicago. Tickets are $35 for adults, $28 for students and seniors, and $15 for children. Tickets can be purchased at athenaeumtheatre.org or by calling 773-935-6875. Performance information is available at ballet58.org/scarlet.

Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager’s Scarlet is on the cutting edge of multidisciplinary art. Building from a stunning score by American modernist composer Charles Ives, Scarlet blends an original Spoken Word performance by local artist Kylla Pate with film elements directed by Alvin Ailey choreographer and film producer Preston Miller. The project weaves the visual strength of film and the emotional impact of Spoken Word into the beauty, grace and power of ballet. Each artistic discipline adds a unique texture and voice into the narrative, creating a multi-layered and dynamic experience within a timeless story.

In 2015, See Chicago Dance editor Lynn Shapiro wrote that Ballet 5:8 “shows gutsy determination to contribute a unique perspective.” Scarlet continues to push the envelope of the possibilities within the art form. This performance enhances the storytelling capacity of classical ballet by adding film elements that incorporate some of the latest innovations within the filmmaking industry and gathering an expert team of collaborators to accomplish the vision. Ultimately, Scarlet invites audiences to consider the hypocrisy within each of us and, as Slager puts it, “our human tendency to chase what destroys us.”  After each performance, Slager and the collaborating artists will host an interactive panel discussion.

In the March premiere of Scarlet, the principal role of Hester is double-cast between Ballet 5:8’s Lead Artist Lauren Ader-Cumpston and Solo Artist Brette Benedict, both veteran Ballet 5:8 dancers. The roles of Dimmesdale and Chillingsworth, respectively, will be performed by new Ballet 5:8 dancers Antonio Fernandez and Samuel Opsal - a particularly notable announcement after Ballet 5:8’s first four years as a female-only company. With an overall roster of 12 professional dancers and additional corps de ballet roles danced by Ballet 5:8 trainees, Scarlet will be Slager’s biggest professional project to date.

Ballet 5:8 Returns to Las Cruces with Groundbreaking Ballet-Film Adaption of American Classic

CHICAGO – Ballet 5:8 brings its film/dance hybrid production inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter to Las Cruces after the company’s first visit in 2015. Ballet 5:8’s dramatic adaptation of the famous novel pairs original choreography by Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager and a stunning score by American modernist composer Charles Ives with film elements directed by Preston Miller, and Spoken Word created by Chicago artist Kylla Pate. Scarlet delves into the timeless struggles of hypocrisy, shame and ultimately, the hope of redemption. After the performance, audience members are invited to discuss their experience and ask questions during open panel discussion with Slager and artists of the company. The single Las Cruces performance, made possible in part by Wanda Bowman and Ashley Homestore, will be held on Tuesday, March 6 at 7:00pm at NMSU Atkinson Recital Hall. Tickets are $25 adults, $20 students/seniors, and $15 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available through ballet58.org, by calling 312-725-4752, or in person at the Ashley Homestore, 3299 Del Rey Blvd, Las Cruces, NM 88012. Performance information is available at ballet58.org/scarlet.

Audience members at the world premiere of Scarlet described the ballet as “spectacular,” and “brilliantly choreographed.” Scarlet follows the iconic Hester Prynne as she wrestles with her open guilt and grief in a judgmental society, while Reverend Dimmesdale suffers in silence with his secret sin and love. The story of Scarlet is difficult, but that is what makes redemption shine so brightly.

In addition to Ballet 5:8 professional dancers, the performance will feature local cast members playing special children’s roles. Dancers from Michele’s Dance Academy, under the direction of Kevin and Laura Self will include: Nevaeh Holguin (Young Pearl), and Chaley and Kynley Cartwright (Pearl’s Children).

Scarlet is on the cutting edge of multidisciplinary art. The production weaves the visual strength of film and the emotional impact of Spoken Word into the beauty, grace and power of ballet. Each artistic discipline adds a unique texture and voice into the narrative, creating a multi-layered and dynamic experience within a timeless story.

According to Johnny Nevin of Dancermusic.com, “Ballet 5:8 is an imaginative, hard-working group of artists with some very carefully thought out ideas.” Ballet 5:8’s passion for telling captivating stories - such as those from classic literature - using ballet, other artistic disciplines, and a 21st century perspective comes from the company’s mission: to engage audiences in conversation of life and faith through innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance.

Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager is co-founder of the six-year old Ballet 5:8 and brings a wealth of experience to her work. 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, The Stor(ies) of You and Me, and Compass to audiences across the nation. Slager is also a groundbreaking figure within the field, as one of the few female Artistic Directors and Resident Choreographers of professional ballet companies in the world. As a woman with Hispanic heritage, she hopes that her leadership and creative work at Ballet 5:8 will pave the way for other women and minorities in professional ballet.

Ballet 5:8’s performance of Scarlet in Las Cruces follows their first visit to the city in 2015. The original visit included three sold-out performances of Ballet 5:8 Audience Favorites at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. Both Ballet 5:8’s 2015 and 2018 visits to Las Cruces have been made possible in part by Wanda Bowman and Ashley Homestore.

 

Groundbreaking Ballet-Film Adaption of American Classic at South Broadway Cultural Center

CHICAGO – Ballet 5:8 will make a debut visit to Albuquerque in March, bringing its film/dance hybrid production inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter to the South Broadway Cultural Center. The company’s dramatic adaptation pairs original choreography by Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager and a stunning score by American modernist composer Charles Ives with Spoken Word created by Chicago artist Kylla Pate, and film elements directed by Preston Miller. Scarlet delves into the timeless struggles of hypocrisy, shame and ultimately, the hope of redemption. After the performance, audience members are invited to discuss their experience and ask questions during open panel discussion with Slager and artists of the company. The single Albuquerque performance will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 7:00pm at the South Broadway Cultural Center. Tickets are $25 adults, $20 students/seniors, and $15 for children 12 and under and are available at the South Broadway Cultural Center Box Office, at ballet58.org, or by calling 505-848-1320. Performance information is available at ballet58.org/scarlet.

Audience members at the world premiere of Scarlet described the ballet as “spectacular,” and “brilliantly choreographed.” Scarlet follows the iconic Hester Prynne as she wrestles with her open guilt and grief in a judgmental society, while Reverend Dimmesdale suffers in silence with his secret sin and love. The story of Scarlet is difficult, but that is what makes redemption shine so brightly.

In addition to Ballet 5:8 professional dancers, the Albuquerque performance will feature local cast members playing special children’s roles. Dancers from Hayden School of Ballet under the direction of Celia Dale will include: Camar Sinead Dhaoudi (Young Pearl), and Naima Lanae Dhaoudi and Adelia Jane Suddarth-Urrea (Pearl’s Children).

Scarlet is on the cutting edge of multidisciplinary art. The production weaves the visual strength of film and the emotional impact of Spoken Word into the beauty, grace and power of ballet. Each artistic discipline adds a unique texture and voice into the narrative, creating a multi-layered and dynamic experience within a timeless story.

According to Johnny Nevin of Dancermusic.com, “Ballet 5:8 is an imaginative, hard-working group of artists with some very carefully thought out ideas.” Ballet 5:8’s passion for telling captivating stories - such as those from classic literature - using ballet, other artistic disciplines, and a 21st century perspective comes from the company’s mission: to engage audiences in conversation of life and faith through innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance.

Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager is co-founder of the six-year old Ballet 5:8 and brings a wealth of experience to her work. 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, The Stor(ies) of You and Me, and Compass to audiences across the nation. Slager is also a groundbreaking figure within the field, as one of the few female Artistic Directors and Resident Choreographers of professional ballet companies in the world. As a woman of color with Hispanic heritage,  she hopes that her leadership and creative work at Ballet 5:8 will pave the way for other women and minorities in professional ballet.

Groundbreaking Ballet-Film Stage Adaption of American Classic at Hemmens in Elgin

CHICAGO – Celebrating its sixth performance season, Ballet 5:8 brings its popular film/dance hybrid production inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter back to the stage at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin after the successful Chicago premiere at the Athenaeum Theatre. The company’s dramatic production pairs original choreography by Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager and a stunning score by American modernist composer Charles Ives with Spoken Word created by Chicago artist Kylla Pate, and film elements directed by Alvin Ailey choreographer and film producer Preston Miller. The classic story delves into the timeless struggles of hypocrisy, shame and ultimately, the hope of redemption. After each performance, audience members are invited to discuss their experience and ask questions during open panel discussion with Slager and artists of the company. The single Chicago-area performance will be held on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 7:00pm at the Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin, Illinois. Tickets are $30 for adults, $24 for students and seniors, and $15 for children. Tickets can be purchased at ballet58.org or by calling 312-725-4752. Performance information is available at ballet58.org/scarlet.

Audience members at the world premiere of Scarlet described the ballet as “well done,” “spectacular,” and “brilliantly choreographed.” Scarlet follows the iconic Hester Prynne as she wrestles with her open guilt and grief in a judgmental society, while Reverend Dimmesdale suffers in silence with his secret sin and love -  themes from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s historic novel are surprisingly relatable to the present day. The story of Scarlet is difficult, but that is what makes redemption shine so brightly. On the cutting edge of multidisciplinary art, the production weaves the visual strength of film and the emotional impact of Spoken Word into the beauty, grace and power of ballet. Each artistic discipline adds a unique texture and voice into the narrative, creating a multi-layered and dynamic experience within a timeless story.

According to Johnny Nevin of Dancermusic.com, “Ballet 5:8 is an imaginative, hard-working group of artists with some very carefully thought out ideas.” Ballet 5:8’s passion for telling captivating stories - such as those from classic literature - using ballet, other artistic disciplines, and a 21st century perspective comes from the company’s mission: to engage audiences in conversation of life and faith through innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance.

The creator and choreographer behind Scarlet, Artistic Director Julianna Slager, is one of the co-founders of six-year old company. Slager brings a wealth of experience to her work with the young company. 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, The Stor(ies) of You and Me, and Compass 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.

Ballet 5:8 Returns to Las Cruces

CHICAGO – Ballet 5:8 brings its film/dance hybrid production inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter to Las Cruces after the company’s first visit in 2015. Ballet 5:8’s dramatic adaptation of the famous novel pairs original choreography by Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager and a stunning score by American modernist composer Charles Ives with film elements directed by Preston Miller, and Spoken Word created by Chicago artist Kylla Pate. Scarlet delves into the timeless struggles of hypocrisy, shame and ultimately, the hope of redemption. After the performance, audience members are invited to discuss their experience and ask questions during open panel discussion with Slager and artists of the company. The single Las Cruces performance, made possible in part by Wanda Bowman and Ashley Homestore, will be held on Tuesday, March 6 at 7:00pm at NMSU Atkinson Recital Hall. Tickets are $25 adults, $20 students/seniors, and $15 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available through ballet58.org, by calling 312-725-4752, or in person at the Ashley Homestore, 3299 Del Rey Blvd, Las Cruces, NM 88012. Performance information is available at ballet58.org/scarlet.

Audience members at the world premiere of Scarlet described the ballet as “spectacular,” and “brilliantly choreographed.” Scarlet follows the iconic Hester Prynne as she wrestles with her open guilt and grief in a judgmental society, while Reverend Dimmesdale suffers in silence with his secret sin and love. The story of Scarlet is difficult, but that is what makes redemption shine so brightly.

In addition to Ballet 5:8 professional dancers, the Albuquerque performance will feature local cast members playing special children’s roles. Dancers from Michele’s Dance Academy, under the direction of Kevin and Laura Self will include: Nevaeh Holguin (Young Pearl), and Chaley and Kynley Cartwright (Pearl’s Children).

Scarlet is on the cutting edge of multidisciplinary art. The production weaves the visual strength of film and the emotional impact of Spoken Word into the beauty, grace and power of ballet. Each artistic discipline adds a unique texture and voice into the narrative, creating a multi-layered and dynamic experience within a timeless story.

According to Johnny Nevin of Dancermusic.com, “Ballet 5:8 is an imaginative, hard-working group of artists with some very carefully thought out ideas.” Ballet 5:8’s passion for telling captivating stories - such as those from classic literature - using ballet, other artistic disciplines, and a 21st century perspective comes from the company’s mission: to engage audiences in conversation of life and faith through innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance.

Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager is co-founder of the six-year old Ballet 5:8 and brings a wealth of experience to her work. 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, The Stor(ies) of You and Me, and Compass to audiences across the nation. Slager is also a groundbreaking figure within the field, as one of the few female Artistic Directors and Resident Choreographers of professional ballet companies in the world. As a woman of color with Hispanic heritage,  she hopes that her leadership and creative work at Ballet 5:8 will pave the way for other women and minorities in professional ballet.

Ballet 5:8’s performance of Scarlet in Las Cruces follows their first visit to the city in 2015. The original visit included three sold-out performances of Ballet 5:8 Audience Favorites at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. Both Ballet 5:8’s 2015 and 2018 visits to Las Cruces have been made possible in part by Wanda Bowman and Ashley Homestore.


 

Ballet 5:8 at Athenaeum on Navigating Cultural Tension with Compassion

CHICAGO – Celebrating its sixth performance season, Ballet 5:8 will return to the Athenaeum Theatre this November with the Chicago premiere of Compass, presented by Dance Chicago. Ballet 5:8’s Compass features four one-act ballets inspired by the challenges of navigating cultural tension in the present day. From an alien society to 1970’s Chicago, Compass stretches across time and space to explore some of our country’s most pressing topics. At times witty and satirical, and at times deeply emotional, Compass is full of athleticism, power and poetry. A single performance will be held on Friday, November 10 at 7:30pm at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 North Southport Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for students and seniors, and $15 for children. Tickets can be purchased at athenaeumtheatre.org or by calling 773-935-6875. Performance information is available at ballet58.org/compass.

A unique professional company, Ballet 5:8’s mission is shaped by a desire to engage audiences in meaningful discussion through innovative storytelling and the beauty and power of professional dance. Compass is based on the theme “navigating cultural tension with compassion” and is inspired by a desire to consider the pressing issues of the day through the lense of compassion. The four original ballets in the Compass program include works inspired by poems authored by African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist, Sojourner Truth, and Pulitzer Prize author and Chicagoan, Gwendolyn Brooks. After the performance, audience members are invited to stay for a Ballet 5:8 tradition, the Talk Back. During this panel discussion, Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Slager and artists of the company discuss questions, comments and feedback on the performance with audience members.

Ballet 5:8’s return to the Athenaeum Theatre this November follows the March 2017 world premiere of the company’s groundbreaking dance/film production Scarlet, also at the Athenaeum. Audience members at the premiere described Scarlet, which is inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s American classic novel The Scarlet Letter, as “well done,” “spectacular,” and “brilliantly choreographed.” Veteran Ballet 5:8 dancer Brette Benedict received her promotion to Lead Artist following the Scarlet premiere and will make her Chicago debut as Lead Artist during Compass on November 10th.

Ballet 5:8 in Grand Rapids on Navigating Cultural Tension with Compassion

CHICAGO – Celebrating its sixth performance season, Ballet 5:8 will make a debut in Grand Rapids this October after performing in Jackson for the past four seasons. Ballet 5:8’s Compass features four one-act ballets inspired by the challenges of navigating cultural tension in the present day. From an alien society to 1970’s Chicago, Compass stretches across time and space to explore some of our country’s most pressing topics. At times witty and satirical, and at times deeply emotional, Compass is full of athleticism, power and poetry. A single performance will be held on Saturday, October 28 at 7:00pm at the Devos Center for Arts and Worship, 2300 Plymouth Avenue Southeast, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors, and $15 for children. Tickets can be purchased at ballet58.org or by calling 312-725-4752. Performance information is available at ballet58.org/compass.

A unique professional company, Ballet 5:8’s mission is shaped by a desire to engage audiences in meaningful discussion through innovative storytelling and the beauty and power of professional dance. Compass is based on the theme “navigating cultural tension with compassion” and is inspired by a desire to consider the pressing issues of the day through the lense of compassion. The four original ballets in the Compass program include works inspired by poems authored by African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist, Sojourner Truth, and Pulitzer Prize author and Chicagoan, Gwendolyn Brooks. After the performance, audience members are invited to stay for a Ballet 5:8 tradition, the Talk Back. During this panel discussion, Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Slager and artists of the company discuss questions, comments and feedback on the performance with audience members.

 

Ballet 5:8 Presents Four New Ballets on Navigating Cultural Tension with Compassion

CHICAGO – This October, Ballet 5:8 returns to the Quad Cities, hometown of Ballet 5:8 Co-founder & Executive Director, Amy Kozol Sanderson, for the third time since the company’s founding in 2012. Ballet 5:8’s Compass features four one-act ballets inspired by the challenges of navigating cultural tension in the present day. From an alien society to 1970’s Chicago, Compass stretches across time and space to explore some of our country’s most pressing topics. At times witty and satirical, and at times deeply emotional, Compass is full of athleticism, power and poetry. A single performance will be held on Saturday, October 7 at 7:00pm at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 1800 7th Ave, Moline, Illinois. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors, and $15 for children. Tickets can be purchased at ballet58.org or by calling 312-725-4752. Performance information is available at ballet58.org/compass.

A unique professional company, Ballet 5:8’s mission is shaped by a desire to engage audiences in meaningful discussion through innovative storytelling and the beauty and power of professional dance. Compass is based on the theme “navigating cultural tension with compassion” and is inspired by a desire to consider the pressing issues of the day through the lense of compassion. The four original ballets in the Compass program include works inspired by poems authored by African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist, Sojourner Truth, and Pulitzer Prize author and Chicagoan, Gwendolyn Brooks. After the performance, audience members are invited to stay for a Ballet 5:8 tradition, the Talk Back. During this panel discussion, Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Slager and artists of the company discuss questions, comments and feedback on the performance with audience members.

A childhood native of Eldridge, Iowa, Ballet 5:8 Executive Director Amy Kozol Sanderson fell in love with ballet at an early age and received her classical ballet training at Ballet Quad Cities School of Dance under former Artistic Director Johanne Jakhelln Constant. After studying as a trainee with the Ballet Quad Cities professional company for three years and with Ballet Magnificat in Jackson, MS, Amy later moved to Chicago and worked in the administrative offices at the Joffrey Academy of Dance. She went on to become one of the co-founders of Ballet 5:8 in 2012 and performed with Ballet 5:8 for three seasons before retiring to full-time administrative work. Amy currently lives in Chicago with her husband Clayton and their one-year-old daughter.