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 or by calling 312-725-4752. Performance information is available at

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, “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.