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The Artistry and Advocacy of Ballet 5:8's Julianna Rubio Slager

Posted  26 days ago  by  Ballet 5:8

3 MIN READ – According to the Dance Data Project, female voices are underrepresented in ballet, with just 23.6% of works in the 2023-2024 season choreographed by women. Ballet 5:8’s Lost Women of Juarez performance at the Harris Theater is 75% female and 100% minority choreography. The work honors and celebrates the life and legacy of women and is an important capstone to Women’s History Month.

Female choreographers deserve more recognition than they are receiving. This year marked an important step for Ballet 5:8's director and choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager, as she was invited to the prestigious School of American Ballet as a National Visiting Fellow to consult on diversity practices in the ballet industry. Her work in the studio and on the stage is elevating the Chicago dance community as being at the forefront of equity and inclusion at the highest levels of artistry and leadership.

The featured work at the Harris Theater is The Lost Women of Juárez, a deeply personal new work from Rubio Slager. Her Tia (aunt) Yolanda was murdered in the communities of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and the local authorities refused to do a thorough investigation. As she researched, she found that thousands of women have disappeared in this area and every one of their names deserves to be remembered. The Lost Women of Juárez is a fight against becoming desensitized to the horror of femicide in Ciudad Juárez.

Through her vision, Rubio Slager will give life to the stories of these women, capturing their essence and the emotional journey they endured. The narrative supports her ideas around the creation of dance and also focuses on how to improve the digestion of such art that often is passed over because of its depth. Influenced by her heritage, Julianna Rubio Slager's choreographic style combines contemporary ballet, traditional Mexican dances, and storytelling techniques.

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