Ballet 5:8 has moved its nationally-recognized professional performing company and dance education center from its seven-year home in Frankfort to a newly remodeled 12,000 square foot building in Orland Park.
A ribbon cutting ceremony, facilitated by the Orland Park Chamber of Commerce, will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 21 and is open to the public.
The new location, just minutes from I-80 and LaGrange Road and a 35-minute drive from downtown Chicago, is a step up from the company’s previous home and includes five state of the art studios and a dedicated cross-training studio, plus added space and amenities for the company’s 13 professional dancers, expanding local student population, and administrative staff.
The new and larger studios will allow Ballet 5:8 to continue to increase the size of its professional performing company.
The new building will also foster continued growth for Ballet 5:8’s education programs for all ages which include hundreds of after-school classes, adult dance and fitness classes, monthly workshops for special needs dancers, and a range of intensives and conferences that attract students, choreographers and dance education leaders from across the country during the summer months.
The new location also makes Orland Park the home of the only mid-sized professional ballet company between Chicago city limits and Peoria.
The Ballet 5:8 professional company performs throughout Chicagoland, Illinois, the Midwest, and the nation.
Upcoming local performances include a full length showing of the company’s acclaimed program "The Space in Between at the Hemmens Cultural Center" in Elgin on Feb. 16.
The School of the Arts, which has a reputation for attracting over 1,500 audience members to its performances of Beyond the Nutcracker each December, will also perform "The Wayward Daughter" at Lincoln Way West High School in New Lenox May 11-12.
Additional information on each performance is available at ballet58.org.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Ballet 5:8 relies on community and foundation support to cover operating costs not supported by ticket sales and tuition, both of which the company works to keep low and accessible to the public at large.
The company has currently raised 74 percent if its 2018/19 fundraising goal, which includes funding for the move and buildout costs.
Hundreds of individual donors have made special gifts to facilitate the move, including Wanda Bowman, and Olivier & Naomi Morin, who are sponsoring specific studios in the new building. Ballet 5:8 is also grateful for the support of local nonprofit Operation Nehemiah, under the direction of Robert Lach.
Operation Nehemiah is dedicated to partnering with non-profit organizations and churches on building and rebuilding projects. Operation Nehemiah worked with Ballet 5:8 from October - December, 2018 to complete the renovations that transformed the empty warehouse into Ballet 5:8’s new home.
Ballet 5:8 was a recipient of Illinois Arts Council Agency grants in 2017 and 2018.
The company began with just three professional dancers in 2012 and a range of local performances, largely in non-traditional venues.
Today, Ballet 5:8 contracts 13 professional dancers who have moved from across the U.S. and Canada to work with the company, performing an expanding repertoire of original, innovative works created by artistic director Julianna Rubio Slager in professional theaters across the country.
Slager, co-founder of the company, is one of the few Mexican-American artistic directors and resident choreographers of professional ballet companies in the world.
Ballet 5:8’s education center, Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts, has grown to serve nearly 300 students each year at its main campus, as well as classes held at satellite locations in Palos Heights, Beverly (Chicago) and Valparaiso, Indiana.
Children’s and youth division director and instructor Abigail Gray Gardner, originally from Bolivia, moved to the area to train with Ballet 5:8 in 2012 and later became an instructor after graduating from Ballet 5:8’s trainee program.