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, 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

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, “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.