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All about Ballet 5:8's 2022-2023 season

Posted  13 months ago

7 MIN READ – After celebrating a decade of beauty and innovation, Artistic Director and Resident
Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager announced the 2022-2023 season of Ballet 5:8, ambitiously launching the female and minority-led premiere ballet company into the next chapter. The 11th season features the world premiere of BareFace, Ballet 5:8’s first work as a Resident Company at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance.

BareFace is a full-length story ballet adaptation of cultural luminary C.S. Lewis’ novel, Till We Have Faces. Ballet 5:8 will also welcome guest choreographers Matthew Rushing, Associate Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Tobin James, former member of the Martha Graham Ensemble, to present works alongside returning fan favorites. Ballet 5:8 will perform at several notable Chicago cultural institutions and festivals including Athenaeum Center for Thought & Culture, National Museum of Mexican Art, Navy Pier’s Wave Wall Moves and more. Ballet 5:8 continues its experimentation with the art form in The Living Room Series. Hyperlocal and intensely personal, these works are curated and set within patrons’ homes complete with a live pianist and spoken word performances.

Photo Credit Kailey Kopel

Once praised by Lauren Warnecke of See Chicago Dance in 2018 as the “suburbs’ best kept dance secret,” Ballet 5:8 will be unveiled to Chicagoans anew this season with breathtaking works across the city for audiences to enjoy. Chicago will experience the unparalleled artistry, innovation and elegance that audiences have come to expect from Ballet 5:8.
Learn about Ballet 5:8's different ticket subscription packages here, now available through July 10. Single tickets go on sale July 11.



Ballet 5:8 is proud to announce a mixed-bill program in the fall at Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture featuring a new commission from choreographer Matthew Rushing, Associate Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater alongside a world premiere by Julianna Rubio Slager and returning Ballet 5:8 fan favorites. More information about the new commission by Matthew Rushing and world premiere by Julianna Rubio Slager will be released at a later date.

After the debut performance on the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance stage this past March, Ballet 5:8 is thrilled to announce that the company will be joining on as a Resident Company of the Harris Theater. Ballet 5:8 will bring more productions to the Harris Theater stage and downtown Chicago and build further relationships with peer performing arts organizations in the area. In the spring of 2023, Ballet 5:8 will present the highly anticipated world premiere of BareFace to the Harris Theater stage. BareFace is a full-length story ballet adaptation of cultural luminary C.S. Lewis’ novel, Till We Have Faces.

Performance schedule is as follows:

Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture (2936 N. Southport Ave.)

October 15, 2022
New Commission by Matthew Rushing, a World Premiere by Julianna Rubio Slager and Ballet 5:8 Fan Favorites Día de Los Vivos and Gospel Impressions.

Día de Los Vivos
Choreography: Julianna Rubio Slager | Music: Ezio Bosso
Originally premiered in 2021, Día de Los Vivos was created based on Rubio Slager’s personal experience with clinical depression. Every 40 seconds someone in the world dies from suicide. Countless others bear the crushing weight of depression in silence. Día de Los Vivos is a tribute to the men and women that fight each day to stay on this planet. It is a love letter to those who choose to fight the good fight, who choose to believe in hope; to honor all who choose to stay.


Photo Credit Kristie Kahns


Gospel Impressions

Choreography: Julianna Rubio Slager | Music: Rachmaninoff
Originally premiered in 2021, Gospel Impressions is inspired by leading contemporary artist Makoto Fujimura’s exquisite paintings, The Four Holy Gospels. Fujimura’s work is layered, colorful and nuanced. Rubio Slager takes his work as a base and fleshes out both his inspiration, philosophy and painting with movement and geometry that further illuminate the gospel stories.

Photo Credit Kristie Kahns


Harris Theater for Music and Dance (205 E. Randolph St.)
April 22, 2023
World Premiere of BareFace by Julianna Rubio Slager
Love has been the muse for all manner of myths, legends, movies and poems throughout the ages. Often held as the greatest of all virtues, love can even be said to be the bridge from mortals to the divine. But is it truly so? C.S. Lewis brilliantly adapts the myths of Cupid and Psyche to examine love’s motivations, pitfalls and blind spots. The story begs us to look inward at our desire for love, and to ask whether or not we honestly understand the depths of our own hearts. We remain faceless until we are brave enough to look staunchly upon the ugliness of our duplicitous motives. We become beautiful when we release jealousy and embrace the truly selfless love of the divine. Set in the Grecian fairytale world of Glome, audiences can expect to be gripped by the dynamic storytelling through the impressive athletic prowess of Ballet 5:8’s dance artists. The full-length story ballet is brought to life by costume designer Lorianne Robertson, projections by Sarah Freeman and music by Orchestra of the Swan.


Ballet 5:8 is excited to participate in festivals and open air performances at several notable Chicago cultural locations. Programming information for all performances will be announced at later dates. Additional activations and performances may be added at later dates. Patrons are invited to subscribe to Ballet 5:8’s email newsletter or join the dedicated text line, “Inner Circle,” by texting “Ballet58” at 866-499-1120 for event updates.

Performing locations and dates are as follows:

Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Avenue)
July 9, 2022
Ballet 5:8 will bring an exhilarating experience to Navy Pier’s live dance performance series, Wave Wall Moves, which is presented in partnership with See Chicago Dance.

Mayfair Arts Center (8701 S. Bennett Ave)
July 31, 2022
Presented by Chicago Human Rhythm Project and Mayfair Arts Center, Ballet 5:8 is offering introductory classes and a short performance to serve the community of Mayfair in the inaugural year of North Side South Side One Side.

Elpis Dance Festival Across the Road from Landmark Cafe Brauer of Lincoln Park Zoo (2021 N. Stockton Dr.)
August 6, 2022
Ballet 5:8 will be performing at this summer outdoor concert offering messages of faith and hope through the Company Artists’ extraordinary gift of dancing.

The Richard J. Daley Center’s Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington St.)
September 7, 2022
Ballet 5:8 will be performing at the Farmer’s Market and sharing a taste of works that will premiere at the Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture in the fall.

National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 W. 19th St.)
November 12, 2022
In honor of Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager’s Mexican American heritage, Ballet 5:8 will present a program titled, Ver la Música, Oír la Danza, free to the public. Free tickets must be reserved in advance.


Audiences can expect to enjoy the following Ballet 5:8 returning fan favorites throughout the 11th season at various venues and locations.

Mi Familia
Choreography: Julianna Rubio Slager | Music: Ezio Bosso
Originally premiered in 2015, Mi Familia is drawn from the choreographer's own personal experiences growing up in a multi-racial family, Mi Familia celebrates the beauty of family and relationships that can be experienced by all people, transcending racial and cultural differences. The work has a fun-filled flavor, utilizing traditional Mexican folklorico movements to create a lively, relatable picture that is sure to have audiences dancing along in the seats.

Photo Credit Lana Kozol

Dry Bones
Choreography: Julianna Rubio Slager | Music: Les Tambours du Bronx and Scanner
Originally premiered in 2020, Dry Bones finds inspiration in the Book of Ezekiel and the famous story of dry bones rattling to life. The Prophet Ezekiel stares over a valley of dry bones but when the Word of the Lord speaks over this scene of grim death, the bones begin to have tendons, flesh and skin. Breath reinvigorates death, and they stand to their feet–a vast army. Even in death, even when true life is so far gone that the bones have been bleached white by the sun, there is hope in resurrection.

Photo Credit Lana Kozol

Todo Raba
Choreography: Julianna Rubio Slager | Music: Oliver Davis
Originally premiered for the 10th year anniversary, Todo Raba is a light-hearted, full ensemble work simply as a thank you to God, the dancers and all who have supported Ballet 5:8’s journey. “Toda Raba is a Hebrew phrase that means ‘thank you very much.’ Without my faith, nothing I do has any meaning or significance. Ballet 5:8’s ten-year anniversary was all about boasting in what He has done.” - Julianna Rubio Slager


The Living Room Series is a series of site-specific works in different homes and venues. Ballet 5:8 invites patrons to book and reserve special Living Room Series experiences where artists of the company are brought directly into living rooms or venues with customized, personalized and breathtaking performances complete with live piano music accompaniment and spoken word. Each individual performance will be curated by Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager and choreography will be informed by patrons’ unique life stories in their living rooms. This experience is suitable for events, celebrations, house parties and intimate gatherings.

Life happens in the living room. In the center of our homes, generations gather, wisdom is shared, and relationships are both built up and torn down. Through The Living Room Series, Ballet 5:8 recreates the cyclical stories that shape lives through meaningful, up-close and exquisite dancing. Some are playful, and some are tumultuous, but each living room moment shapes the story being carried out into the world.

Patrons interested in inquiring about booking The Living Room Series event at house parties or venues can visit here. For more information regarding benefit performances, tour performances, online performances, and more please visit Ballet 5:8's website here.