Feature

Making Ballet Accessible

Emanuel Padilla | 01.28.2019

Ballet, as with many of the “fine arts,” is perceived as art for the aristocracy. The art form is commonly expensive, exclusive, and occasionally elitist, but Ballet 5:8 subverts these common values to provide accessible, high-quality dance training to students of all ages, levels of ability, and ethnic backgrounds. Their school commits to fostering a nurturing environment where instructors care for the students’ spirits and bodies. This is Ballet reimagined. This is a studio telling a different story.

Ballet 5:8 is a non-profit dance company and school changing the way this art form is perceived and used in the Chicago-land area. Their faith-based commitments drive their pursuit of excellence in their craft and informs the outward focus of all their programming and performances. According to their handbook, “We see dance not as a means of self-glorification, but as a way to share the joy of our faith with the communities around us and to invite others into meaningful discussion of faith topics.”

We sat down with Ballet 5:8’s Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager to discuss their commitment to share their faith and make quality ballet accessible to all. Watch the video below, then listen to the podcast to learn more about Ballet 5:8 and the city they make. If you are in the Chicago-land area, you should make it out to their upcoming show!

The Space in Between | Elgin

Saturday, February 16, 2019 | 7:00pm

The Hemmens Cultural Center
45 Symphony Way, Elgin, IL 60120

Details & Tickets | Learn more about the program at ballet58.org/space-in-between

About Julianna Rubio Slager

Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager is originally from Spring Arbor, Michigan. Slager began her dance training with Mrs. Lori Ladwig and went on to study under notable teachers from Ann Arbor Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, the Vaganova Academy and Puerto Rican National Ballet. Slager enjoyed dancing under Barbara Smith at Greater Lansing Ballet during her training, and also under Kathy Thibodeaux and Sol Maisonet at Ballet Magnificat. Upon moving to Chicago, Slager had the opportunity to work as freelance artist, teacher and choreographer in the Greater Chicago area. Slager was instrumental in the co-founding of Ballet 5:8 in 2012. Beginning in 2014, Ballet 5:8 began touring nationally, bringing Slager’s critically acclaimed ballets such as Scarlet and The Stor(ies) of You and Me 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.

In the short span of six years, Slager has enjoyed training and mentoring her first generation of aspiring artists in Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts’ Pre-Professional and Conservatory programs, and in the Ballet 5:8 Trainee Program. She has had the joy of watching her students be accepted into many prestigious summer intensive, trainee and year-round programs, including the Kirov Academy, Pittsburg Ballet Theater, Houston Ballet, Washington Ballet, Joffrey Ballet Trainee Program, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Ellison Ballet, School of American Ballet, and others.

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