The Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts teaching staff is a group of carefully selected instructors who exhibit excellence in their ability to teach, but who also share in Ballet 5:8′s vision to encourage and inspire young people for Christ through dance and the arts.
Julianna Slager, Artistic Director
School Principal and Resident Choreographer
Read more about Julianna on the Artistic Director page.
Lauren Ader, Instructor
Ballet, Pointe, Variations – Training Division
Ericka Lashley, Instructor
Ballet, Contemporary – Training Division
Ericka is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer in the Chicago land area. She currently dances with Striding Lion Performance Group, an association of dance theater artist and collaborators. She recently attained her Pilates mat and Cardiolates certification with Pilates Academy International based in New York; she teaches dance and fitness to a wide range of students in a wide range of venues including Northwestern University. Her choreography has been seen in shows and festivals all around Chicago; she had the honor in 2012 to present work in the RAD Midwest festival in Michigan, and the Dance Chance Redux 4.0 show with artist such as Ahmad Simmons and Ben Wardell. Ericka has been working with children and youth on a volunteer bases at her church for the last 10 years; teaching dance and working in the creative department. She is excited about being able to connect her faith and love of dance so closely in teaching at Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts. She believes whole heartedly in their mission and is blessed to be part of it.
Kristen Soeters, Instructor
Ballet, Pre-Ballet – Children’s Division and Training Division
Kristen Elizabeth, from Holland, MI, began her ballet training at age elven at Turning Pointe School of Dance under the direction of Lara Bremer Faucher and Rick Faucher. She danced with Turning Pointe until graduating in 2011, and she most recently spent a year at Belhaven University. She began teaching, and choreographing her senior year of high school at Turning Pointe. This past summer, she was blessed to return to Turning Pointe to teach and choreograph again. It is her delight to pass along wisdom spiritually, relationally and balletically, to this year’s students at Ballet 5:8!
Abi Gray, Instructor
Pre-Ballet, Contemporary, Modern – Children’s Division and Training Division
Abi Gray grew up in Cochabamba, Bolivia and began her training at the art conservatory Eduardo Laredo in the same city. She spent nine years at the Conservatory and graduated as a modern/contemporary dancer. Abi danced with Danzarmonia, a Bolivian classical school for two years and with Walter Albarracin’s jazz company for six months before moving to the United States. She currently lives in Frankfort and is dancing as Trainee under the direction of Julianna Slager and the Ballet 5:8 Company.
Theresa Schmitz, Student Instructor
Creative Movement, Pre-Ballet – Children’s Division
Theresa is in her senior year of high school with Seton Home Study School. She has been blessed to be a student dancer of Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts/Turning Pointe School of Dance since 2009. She began student-teaching in the spring of 2012 after fulfilling her pre-requisite time as a teacher’s assistant. Instructing young dancers is truly delightful for Theresa, as she enjoys nurturing not only their creativity and technique, but more importantly their love for God.