Ballet 5:8, the dynamic and pioneering female and minority-led ballet company, is thrilled to announce the upcoming performance of Butterfly at the Logan Center on the campus of the University of Chicago (915 E 60th St, Chicago, IL 60637) on Sunday, February 11 at 3 p.m. Alongside Butterfly, Ballet 5:8 will present two World Premiere: Wind, by Guest Choreographer Steve Rooks and Counterpart, by Julianna Rubio Slager.
Butterfly unveils the poignant narrative of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and Helga Weiss in the Jewish ghetto of Terezin during the Holocaust. Helga Weiss will be danced by Ellington Nichols, a descendant of Holocaust survivors. The characters shine brightly through their art, embodying the indomitable spirit and unwavering hope that can flourish even amidst unimaginable darkness. Friedl, an inspirational art teacher, empowers her students to express their experiences through their art, capturing both their pain and the resilient sparks of hope that persist.
Lauren Warnecke from See Chicago Dance writes, "Slager draws from Dicker-Brandeis’ spirit—the art teacher, whose secret instruction of children in the ghetto is considered among the origins of expressive art therapies, died in Auschwitz—to create a sense of optimism and hope amongst the cast. That, I was not expecting, nor was I expecting to enjoy a balletic treatment of this weighty topic. Ballet 5:8, after all, is not just another dance company.”
Dancer Ellington Nichols, a descendant of Holocaust survivors, takes center stage, infusing her movements with a deeply personal connection to the story. Nichols carries the legacy of her great-grandparents who survived the Nazi concentration camps, adding an authentic and poignant dimension to the performance.
A singular moment of the production unfolds as the haunting strains of the Defiant Requiem reverberate through the theater, resonating with the courage and defiance of those who resisted oppression. Transported by the music, the dancers embody the boundless resilience of the human soul, paying homage to the legacy of the lives lost and altered by the Holocaust.
Ballet 5:8 invites you to witness the transcendent power of Butterfly on Sunday, February 11 at 3 p.m. at the Logan Center. More than a ballet, this is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, a call for equality in the arts, and a celebration of the enduring power of faith and hope.
What Audiences Are Saying:
“This ballet was so good! Deeply moving - and the choreography is so interesting and expressive. I want to watch it again!”
"I loved it! It was so relevant. If you’ve never seen a ballet before, START HERE. This will capture your heart."
"The ballet was so moving. The music, the choreography, and the dancers all portraying and expressing in concert together the terror and the hope of an unspeakable horrible time in our history that we must remember. Thank you all!"
More About Wind and Counterpart
Counterpart is Julianna Rubio Slager's breathtaking new pas de deux that serves as a testament to the transformative collaboration of authentic partnership. This innovative choreography beautifully celebrates the interplay of equals, showcasing their unique strengths and vulnerabilities. It transcends boundaries and ignites the imagination to reconsider the tension and thrill of equality.
Wind is a mesmerizing ballet by renowned choreographer Steve Rooks inspired by Alfonso Peduto's music. With 14 talented dancers, the piece showcases Ballet 5:8's technical prowess and poetic elegance. Rooks, a former Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, brings a wealth of experience, having trained in D.C. and at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. As an acclaimed choreographer, his work Cool River premiered at Lincoln Center in 1996, and he won the National Choreographic Competition at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2004. Rooks' global impact extends to teaching at institutions worldwide, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Martha Graham Dance Company.
Ballet 5:8 presents Butterfly at the Logan Center at 915 E 60th St, Chicago, IL 60637 on Sunday, February 11th at 3:00 p.m. Tiered single tickets are available ranging from $15-$55 based on seating and available online. Specific children, student and senior ticket prices are available. For groups of 10 or more adults, patrons can use the code: B58GROUP to redeem $5 off each ticket.
ABOUT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JULIANNA RUBIO SLAGER
Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director, Co-Founder, and Chicano Resident Choreographer Julianna Rubio Slager studied under notable teachers from the New York City Ballet, the Vaganova Academy, and Puerto Rican National Ballet. Rubio Slager enjoyed dancing under Barbara Smith at Greater Lansing Ballet and also under Kathy Thibodeaux and Sol Maisonet at Ballet Magnificat. Rubio Slager co-founded Ballet 5:8 in 2012 and is known for her unique ability to engage audiences in discussions of life and faith through exquisite choreography. As one of the few Mexican American Artistic Directors and Resident Choreographers, Rubio Slager is a groundbreaking representation empowering minority women to command space in the professional ballet scene. Over the past decade, Rubio Slager has dedicated herself to training and mentoring young artists at School of Ballet 5:8’s Pre-Professional, Conservatory, and Trainee programs. Students from School of Ballet 5:8 have been awarded contracts, scholarships, and placements with world-class dance companies, colleges, and schools across the country testifying to the unmatched quality of dance education Rubio Slager provides.
ABOUT BALLET 5:8
Ballet 5:8 is a female and minority-led premiere ballet company recognized for remarkable artistic excellence, innovation, technical precision, and beauty. Mexican American Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager creates original and dynamic ballet experiences drawing from life, faith, current events, and diverse perspectives that tell relevant stories of the 21st century. Rubio Slager brings to life ballets that are relatable and accessible to all people, delighting both the seasoned balletomane and the first time audience. For more information about Ballet 5:8, visit www.Ballet58.org and connect on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube.