Chicago's Ballet 5:8 to Perform in Atlanta with Bluebird Uncaged on Compassion

CHICAGO – Ballet 5:8 will visit the Atlanta area for the first time in March with Compass Project, a collection of one-act ballets on navigating cultural tension with compassion. The performance, which stretches across time and space to explore some of the most pressing topics of our day, will feature both Ballet 5:8 and local Atlanta dance collective Bluebird Uncaged. Ballet 5:8, a 12-member professional company based just outside Chicago, is dedicated to engaging communities in conversation of life and faith through innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance. Bluebird Uncaged, a dance collective, is dedicated to bringing hope and dignity through dance via artist development, workshops, live performances, international adventures, and multimedia. A single collaborative performance will be held on Saturday, March 30 at 7:00 pm at the Sara D. Williams Fine Arts Center inside Greater Atlanta Christian School, 1575 Indian Trail Road, Norcross, GA 30093. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for college students and seniors, and $15 for children 12 and under and can be purchased at ballet58.org or by calling 312-725-4752. Performance information is available at ballet58.org/compass-project.

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In Chicago, Ballet 5:8’s work has been called “exceptionally well done” and “these are serious, talented dancers.” Ballet 5:8’s widely popular program Compass, originally premiered in 2017, uses a collection of original ballets to consider some of the most pressing issues of our day - not in a political or divisive sense, but through the lens of compassion. Ballet 5:8 works featured in the program include All God’s Children, inspired by the poems of African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist, Sojourner Truth, and The Mother, inspired by the work of Pulitzer Prize author and Chicagoan, Gwendolyn Brooks. In New York City, renowned mime coach Pilar Garcia noted that in The Mother, Slager “deftly weaves the emotional questions that live on after such hard choices are made no matter the reasons.” Ballet 5:8 will also be performing a new work, 4501, that will premiere on March 2 in Urbana. This work touches on the true stories of several former felons and traces a common theme to explore the transformation of the human heart in one of our nations darkest corners, the prison system.  

According to Bluebird Uncaged Artistic Director Rebekah Diaddigo, “Dance is so powerful, and can go places words can’t.” Bluebird Uncaged is facilitating the Atlanta Compass Project performance and will be contributing original works to the program in addition to Ballet 5:8. “I’m excited to use [Compass Project],” says Diaddigo, “to communicate messages of love, freedom, healing, and reconciliation in hopes that it will spark tangible change in our community.” White Umbrella, one of the works to be performed by Bluebird Uncaged, is inspired by the book of the same name by Mary Frances Bowley. As Diaddigo puts it, “Today, millions of women are sold for sex against their will. This is the story of one who found freedom.” Additional information about Bluebird Uncaged and their work can be found at bluebirduncaged.com.

After the Atlanta Compass Project performance, audience members will be invited to stay for a Ballet 5:8 tradition, the TalkBack. During this panel discussion, audiences members will have the opportunity to discuss the works presented with the artists and choreographers. All questions, comments, and feedback are welcome.

Ballet 5:8, now in its seventh performing season, tours regionally and nationally and is excited to be partnering with Bluebird Uncaged for the Atlanta performance. The company has been called “spectacular and mature” by the Elgin Review’s Jeffrey Pierce, and Slager’s choreography “consistently imaginative” by Ken Norris of WKTV Journal in Grand Rapids. In Chicago, Kristi Licera of Dancermusic.com called Ballet 5:8’s Compass “an evening of inspired choreography and thought-provoking performance,” and Kristian Jamie of March Magazine, San Antonio, called Ballet 5:8’s Scarlet an “effortless” adaptation of classic literature.

Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager is a co-founder of the company and brings a wealth of experience to her work. 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 Mexican-American Artistic Directors and Resident Choreographers of professional ballet companies in the world. She hopes that her leadership and creative work at Ballet 5:8 will pave the way for other women and minorities in professional ballet.

ABOUT BALLET 5:8 - Founded in 2012, Ballet 5:8 a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization based just outside of Chicago, IL. The mission of Ballet 5:8 is to engage communities in Chicago, the Midwest and across the nation in conversation of life and faith through innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance. Ballet 5:8 performs over 40 times throughout Chicago and across the nation each year, in settings ranging from school gyms and professional theaters, in addition to teaching workshops and master classes. Ballet 5:8’s dance education center serves over 250 students each year through a wide range of dance classes, nationally-recognized advanced classical ballet training programs, and a five-week summer intensive. Ballet 5:8’s 2018/19 Season is made possible in part by Prima Soft Dancewear, Athletico, Allegro Dance Boutique of Chicago, and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.