Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Slager’s Scarlet gives audiences a fresh look and response to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel The Scarlet Letter. The groundbreaking, multidisciplinary production uses classical ballet, film and Spoken Word to bring the classic story to life.


The full-length ballet follows the iconic Hester Prynne as she wrestles with her open guilt and grief in a judgmental society, even while Reverend Dimmesdale suffers in silence with his hidden sin and secret love.

The classic story delves into the timeless struggles of hypocrisy, shame and ultimately, the hope of redemption. 


The Collaborators

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. 


Bringing the Elements Together

In an effort to recreate his world of characters in a way that mirrors the novel itself, Scarlet brings live ballet, filmed sequences, and Spoken Word together for the purpose of storytelling.


Hawthorne’s novel relies on many moments where the narrator unveils the soul of the characters through their inner dialogue. In much the same way, the live dancing carries the plot line of the narrative while the added elements weave the characters' internal struggle and emotion into the story in a cohesive, textured and innovative way. Each artistic discipline adds a unique texture and voice into the narrative, creating a multi-layered and dynamic experience within a timeless story.


Your Involvement

The creation of Scarlet is made possible by support from
friends of Ballet 5:8 who believe in the importance of storytelling.

In Honor of Micaiah Abramczyk
Robert Ader
Judith Adlerden
Anonymous Gifts: 634
Anonymous Gifts: 634
Anonymous Gifts: 634
Anonymous Gifts: 634
Timothy & Paula Church
Douglas Cumpston
In Honor of Lauren Ader-Cumpston
Katie & Christian DeGraaf
Digital Cafe LLC
Ebenezer Lutheran Church Endowment
Dana Hodge King
Linda Jillson
Susan Jillson
Rebecca Schaumacher & John Black
Patrice Johnson
Laura Kalinski
Matthew & Frieda Linsner
Jennifer Maniscalco & Scott Lindegren
In Honor of John Magnus
Scott & Wendi Reid
Elizabeth Smith
Colleen Weiberg
Charles Louis Wilson
Weian Zhan