Ballet 5:8 is a Christian professional performing company dedicated to serving the people of Chicago proper and surrounding areas through the creation and presentation of original works of art that are engaging, excellent, creative, and most significantly, purposeful. Some performances are designed to provoke discussion among the audience members, while others are dedicated to encouraging specifically Christian audiences. Regardless of the bent of each performance, Ballet 5:8′s staff and dancing artists are passionate about pursuing the art form of dance performance in an excellent manner not for the end of personal glorification or “showing off” of our individual talents, but rather, for the purpose of using the gifts we have been given to celebrate God and for the benefit of our audience members and the community at large.
Ballet 5:8 is a professional performing company modeled after the typical classical/contemporary ballet company, but inspired by the service of our God, the original Creator and author of beauty and creativity. The company is made up of a group of adult, professional dancers and apprentices from around the United States who have a passion to use their art form to share in discussion of art and faith.
The School of the Arts is Ballet 5:8′s official training ground for students of all ages interested in dance. The school includes a pre-professional training program for students ages six through 18 who are interested in pursuing careers in professional ballet, a Children’s division with pre-ballet and other dance classes for students ages three and older, and an Open Division including ballet and fitness classes for children, teens and adults. The School of the Arts staff includes many of the professional dancing artists of the company and other experienced instructors who share Ballet 5:8′s desire to help students learn about dance in a constructive and uplifting environment. Students are able to put their hard work to use each year as they participate in two full-length original story ballets designed to be a blessing to the school families as well the community at large.
Ballet 5:8 had its beginning in 2009, when founding directors Julianna Slager and Amy Kozol Sanderson first moved to Chicago. The city seemed to be brimming with creativity–a hub for artists of all kinds and dance companies of all varieties, from ballet to modern to ballroom, classical and contemporary, big and small. Still, one type of performance group remained unrepresented–there was not a single faith-based ballet company in the city or in the entire upper Midwest region.
The company was named during the winter of 2010, the “5:8″ included as a way to symbolize the summary of the Gospel–our motivation for dancing–found in Romans chapter five verse eight. Based on a lot of thought, networking, and most importantly, prayer, Sanderson and Slager were beginning to sense that starting a faith-based company in Chicago could be something God was leading them to in the not-so-distant future.
Ballet 5:8 enjoyed it’s first performing season in 2012-13 with a group of six dancers and is excited to continue to create and to perform for God’s glory for years to come.