Julianna Slager began her ballet training at the Academy of the Arts at the age of seven under the direction of Lori Ladwig in Spring Arbor, Michigan. Julianna danced at the Academy of the Arts for ten years and was a part of its sister establishment, the Jackson Ballet Company, for five years. While at the Academy Julianna trained with many teachers including director Lori Ladwig, Rachelle Connors of the New York City Ballet, and Tenille Carver, Artistic Director of Paradosi Ballet Company and Elzbieta Alabuszew-Kutek of the National Institute of Theater Arts Moscow, Russia.
While performing with the Jackson Ballet Company, Julianna danced soloist and principal roles in many classical and contemporary ballets. During her time at the Academy, Julianna was privileged to assistant teach and later to teach ballet to all ages. Julianna is thrilled to have been invited back to the Academy of the Arts as a guest teacher and choreographer many times.
Julianna was a member of the Greater Lansing Ballet Company under the direction of Barbara Banasikowski Smith for three years. While with Greater Lansing Ballet, Julianna performed soloist roles in various classical and contemporary ballets. During her time there she studied with renowned teachers such as Madame Gribinova Dean of the Vaganova Ballet Academy of St. Petersburg, Laura Alonso of the Cuban National Ballet, and Kip Sturm principal dancer of Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Julianna danced and was a trainee with Ballet Magnificat, a professional Christian ballet company, for two years under the direction of Kathy Thibodeaux, Jiri Voborsky and Sol Nazario. While at Ballet Magnificat, Julianna performed core and soloist roles in original ballets choreographed by members of Ballet Magnificat. While with Ballet Magnificat Julianna performed in all kinds of venues, helping to develop her love of ballet as a ministry tool.
In 2009, Julianna began teaching and choreographing for Turning Pointe School of Dance, a ballet school in Chicago’s south suburbs. During her time with Turning Pointe Julianna managed the school’s student performance companies and choreographed original ballets including Created to Worship, Esther, and Messiah. During this time, Julianna also had the privilege of serving as a guest teacher and choreographer for several ballet schools and churches in and around the Midwest.
In January 2012, Julianna became the co-founding Artistic Director of Ballet 5:8. She currently teaches and choreographs for both the professional performing company and the School of the Arts. Julianna is blessed to be married to Jeremy Slager, Pastor of Student Ministries at St. Paul’s Bible Church, and she lives in south Chicago along with their son Judah.