Conservatory & Men's Programs

Our nationally-recognized Conservatory and Men's Programs are for you, providing the highest quality classical ballet training available, in an environment where students thrive. These intensive programs equip students to progress to positions in Trainee Programs with Ballet 5:8 and other professional companies, and to pursue careers in many areas within the wider field of dance, including professional performance, teaching, and choreography.


The Conservatory

The Conservatory takes dancers through the most advanced, technically-challenging levels of our Vaganova-style syllabus with training in classical ballet technique, pointe, classical variations, Ballet 5:8 repertoire, and partnering. Progressing Ballet Technique, Yoga and Pilates provide the cross-training needed to sustain the physical demands of advanced classical ballet. Additional supplementary classes such as Graham modern, jazz, contemporary, and improv shape a versatile, well-rounded dancer.

Classes take place in Ballet 5:8's spacious 12,000 square foot building with five studios, a dedicated cross-training room, ample mirrors ,and professional marley flooring. 

Typically attended by dancers ages 14 and older, the Conservatory program includes up to 20-30 hours per week of training, Monday-Friday. Classes begin as early as 2:15pm, promoting the optimal physical and mental progression of the advanced dancer. A wealth of performing opportunities in the Ballet 5:8 Studio Company allow students to master important skills related to navigating the rehearsal and performance process and to develop artistry along with their technique. 


The Men's Program

The Men's Program is a division of the Conservatory that provides students with the unique opportunity to train intensively alongside other male dancers under the guidance of experienced male instructors. Men's Program students attend men's classes in addition to their regular Conservatory technique classes, participate in pas de deux multiple times per week, and have opportunities to receive private and semi-private coaching from our male instructors. Merit scholarships are available. 

Why Ballet 5:8?


Our programs provide dancers with exceptional classical ballet training, substantial performing experience, and national recognition: all in a nurturing environment where students thrive. 

Our year-round training programs are attended by over 40 students from a range of Chicagoland communities and from across the nation. Conservatory and Men's Program students have regularly received admission and scholarships at prestigious Summer Intensive programs including at The School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Orlando Ballet, The Kirov School, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, and others.

Ballet 5:8 is a place you want to be! We have a family-like atmosphere with small class sizes to promote individual attention for each student. We believe in the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between students, their families and our staff at all times. Our staff and dedicated program directors are always a call or an email away and are happy to set up a meeting anytime.

Most importantly, as we challenge each dancer to reach their fullest potential, it is our goal to maintain a positive, nurturing environment in our school based in the overarching joy that comes from our basis in faith. This allows students to not only gain skills in dance, but the opportunity to thrive physically, emotionally and spiritually in conjunction with their training.

Directors & Staff

Ballet 5:8 Conservatory and Men's Program instructors and staff are all current or former professional dancers. They bring a wealth of technical knowledge and professional performing experience to the program, challenging and enabling dancers to make the technical and artistic leap from student to professional. Prestigious Adjunct Faculty and Master Teachers are also frequently invited to work with the students in the program.


Julianna Rubio Slager
Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director

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Brette Benedict
Ballet 5:8 Trainee & Conservatory Director



Dancers of an advanced level, ages 12+ are welcome to audition for the Conservatory and Men's Programs. Click below to request information below, call us at (708) 329-8773, or register for an audition class. Interested students are also encouraged to audition for our Summer Intensive to receive consideration for both our summer and year-round programs.

Featured Alumni

Libby Dennen

Ballet 5:8 Company Artist

Additional Information



Registration is open May - August for the term beginning in August; mid-year applications are handled on a case-by-case basis as space permits. Registration links are available via email upon acceptance to the program.

Full-Term Enrollment

Enrollment is by full-term only, or two full semesters (36 weeks of classes). To allow for maximum student benefit, families are asked to commit to the entire class term at registration. As a result of attending classes consistently throughout the year, students have the opportunity to learn, review and repeat concepts taught in classes in a manner that promotes longterm retention and the best possible return on your investment! Students are also required to attend a minimum number of summer classes and intensive programs in order to maintain their level placement and level promotions from one year to the next.   


We are proud to be a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a commitment to keeping our programs accessible to aspiring artists from all backgrounds and walks of life. We work to keep operational costs as minimal as possible and rely on the generous support of donors and foundations, as well as ongoing school-wide fundraising activities in order to keep tuition low. Our tuition rates for dancers in the Pre-Professional and Conservatory programs, who attend between 5-25 class hours per week, can be as much as 1/2 that of similar ballet training programs. Detailed tuition and payment information is available by request


Some financial aid, work, men's and merit scholarships are available. New applicants will be notified of any men's or merit scholarships that they may apply and/or qualify for. New students wishing to apply for aid based on financial need must submit our financial aid application form.* Because available financial aid is limited, new applicants are encouraged to apply no later than June for the following school year. 

*Application for financial aid is not a guarantee that any aid will be awarded.


In addition to ongoing corrections in class, dancers in each level receive individualized evaluation from their instructors periodically throughout the year. Near the end of the school year, instructors formally evaluate student progress against syllabus standards in each level during Exam Week. Exam results are graded and distributed to students and parents along with individual feedback and level placement for the following year.

Sample Class Schedule

Actual schedules vary by level and semester.

Conservatory 2

2:15-3:15pm Pilates
3:20-5:00pm Ballet Technique
5:00-6:00pm Pointe/Variations

2:15-4:00pm Technique on Pointe
4:15-6:15pm Rehearsal

2:15-3:15pm Yoga
3:30-5:15pm Ballet Technique
5:15-6:15pm Pas de Deux
6:15-7:15pm Modern


2:15-4:00pm Technique on Pointe
4:15-6:15pm Rehearsal

2:30 - 3:30pm Pilates
3:30 - 5:15pm Ballet Technique
5:15 - 6:15pm Pointe and Variations
6:15 - 7:15pm Progressing Ballet Technique (optional)


Click to read/download the current handbook: Conservatory and Studio Company

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are there levels within the Conservatory and Men's Program?

A. Yes. There are five levels: three in the Conservatory, and two in the Men's Program.

Q. Is there housing available for the Conservatory and Men's Program students?

A. Yes! We do not have a formal dorm-style residence for students, but we do work to place incoming dancers in housing situations suitable to their individual needs. Students who are old enough can share an apartment with other Ballet 5:8 dancers. 

Q. How do Conservatory students attend academic school? 

A. There are several options for dancers who need to complete their high school academic studies. Many area public high schools allow early release and many Ballet 5:8 students have used this in order to attend Conservatory classes beginning at 2:15pm. Other students study online through accredited courses instead of attending classes at a physical school. 

Q. Do students eventually take on positions with the professional company?

A. Yes, some Ballet 5:8 Conservatory Program graduates are now dancing with the professional company (Libby Dennen, Company Artist). For dancers wishing to pursue professional careers, the Conservatory is typically a stepping stone to a college-level trainee program such as the Ballet 5:8 Trainee Program. Graduates have also been admitted to college dance programs including the Boston Conservatory, Butler University, Western Michigan University and others.

Q. Can dancers get out of certain classes if they need to work? 

A. No, students are required to attend all scheduled classes, rehearsals and performances. Dancers who do not fulfill this requirement may not be able to successfully graduate from their program. We recommend that dancers who are in high school plan to receive support from family or others, since the time commitment needed to attend Ballet 5:8 classes and attend to academic studies is usually too intensive to allow for also working a job.