Backstage Pass: Day in the Life of a Professional Dancer
12:00 PM12:00

Backstage Pass: Day in the Life of a Professional Dancer

You’re Invited: See Behind the Scenes with the Ballet 5:8 Professional Company!


Youth ages 10-18 are invited to join the professional touring company of Ballet 5:8 for an afternoon shadowing the day in the life of a professional dancer. Attendees will meet the professional dancers, and hear stories about their experiences as students and professionals, watch company class, and enjoy an in-studio performance of Ballet 5:8's Butterfly. All ticket proceeds will go towards the company's pointe shoe fund which supports the professional dancers.

The mission of Ballet 5:8 is to engage communities in Chicago, the Midwest and across the nation in conversation of life and faith through innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance.

The Ballet 5:8 professional company consists of 14 adult, professional dancers who have moved from around the U.S. to dance with Ballet 5:8 (bios here). Professional ballet dancers are both high level athletes and artists! The dancers start off each day with a ballet technique class that warms their muscles and also helps them to both maintain and advance their ability to perform the difficult steps and coordinations of advanced classical ballet.

Ballet 5:8 Lead Artist Lorianne Barclay and Company Artist Sam Opsal in rehearsal

Ballet 5:8 Lead Artist Lorianne Barclay and Company Artist Sam Opsal in rehearsal

During their lunch break, the Ballet 5:8 dancers take time to participate in Ballet 5:8’s unique mission by engaging in conversation of life and faith and studying the Bible, the inspiration for Ballet 5:8’s work.

The dancers then spend the remainder of their day in rehearsals, working with Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager and other Ballet 5:8 artistic staff. Is during these times that Slager works with the dancers to create new works with the company, including Butterfly and Brothers & Sisters, which are both featured in the performances as part of this event! Once the new works are created, Slager, Ballet 5:8 staff and the dancers then spend countless hours going over the choreography - over and over and over - to refine the work and so that the dancers can completely memorize each movement. They will typically spend about 10 hours preparing each minute of choreography that goes on stage, between the creation process and subsequent rehearsals!

Ballet 5:8 performs its original ballets up to 40 times each season in settings ranging from professional theaters to school gyms. On performance weekends, the dancers typically travel in a van to the performance destination. They spend up to 12 hours in the theater the day prior to the performance, setting up and rehearsing in the space. On the morning of a performance, they often teach master classes at local studios. Then, its showtime! The dancers arrive at the theater 4-5 hours prior to the time of the performance in order to attend a warm-up class on the stage, get dressed and prepare mentally and physically for the show. After most performances, several of the dancers come back on to the stage after the final curtain closes to take questions and talk with the audience about the performance - we call it our “TalkBack” event.

You can find the full Ballet 5:8 performance calendar here.

Artists of the Company performing  The Space in Between

Artists of the Company performing The Space in Between

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Julia Rust Master Class
9:30 AM09:30

Julia Rust Master Class

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Join us for a ballet technique master class taught by Julia Rust of the Joffrey Ballet! As a Christian with a strong, personal relationship with God, Ms. Rust understands He has placed her in positions where she can share her testimony and the Good News with all those she meets. She considers it a privilege to pursue her passion while serving Him and truly feels the joy of dancing for His purpose each time she steps on the stage.

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