Chicago's Ballet 5:8 to Perform in Madison with Magnum Opus on Compassion

CHICAGO – Ballet 5:8 will visit Madison, WI, for the first time in April 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 Madison ballet company Magnum Opus. 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. Now in its second season, Magnum Opus is Wisconsin’s newest professional ballet company. Two collaborative performances will be held on Saturday, April 27 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm at the Verona Area Community Theatre, 103 Lincoln Street, Verona, WI, 53593. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for college students and seniors, and $15 for children 12 and under and can be purchased at or by calling 312-725-4752. Performance information is available at


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 premiered in March, 2019. This work touches on the true stories of several felons and traces a common theme to explore the transformation of the human heart in one of our nations darkest corners, the prison system.  

Magnum Opus will be presenting a two-part work titled Forward Haul, an original ballet choreographed by Magnum Opus Artistic Director Abigail Henninger.  According to Henninger, “We have all experienced times where we could not feel any further away from God due to our mistakes… our past that tends to haunt us. We tend to run from God and run in our own direction, simply forgetting the magnitude of who he is… This ballet takes you through the inner workings of our soul as we try to keep moving forward towards our creator after realizing our running takes us nowhere.” Additional information about Magnum Opus and their work can be found at

After the Madison 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. 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 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.