CHICAGO – A south suburban ballet company once dubbed the “suburb’s best-kept dance secret” is getting ready to start their 11th season.

Ballet 5:8, a female and minority-led premiere ballet troupe, plans to bring audiences breathtaking performances showcasing their artistry, innovation, and elegance.

Mexican-American Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager told WGN News Now the group draws from life, faith, current events, and diverse perspectives to create original performances that tell relevant stories.

“As a Mexican-American growing up dance and music have been such a huge part of my culture and I think ballet is actually kind of unusual for a Latina to get into at a young age, at least for my generation that was not the norm.” said Slager. “But I was really fortunate to have a lot of people who believed in me and who facilitated my journey to become a professional ballet dancer, and I think you see that part of me in all of the work. My goal and my heart is not to just put on ballets that speak to an elite minority of people but to really make dance that is fun and lively and inclusive of all backgrounds.”

Slager said the Ballet 5:8 will be performing at several festivals and cultural institutions across Chicago this season including the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, the Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and Navy Pier.

Highlights of the upcoming season include several world premieres such as Bareface, the full-length story ballet adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ novel, Till We Have Faces. This will be the first work the troupe will perform as a Resident Company at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. They will also welcome Matthew Rushing, Associate Artist Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Tobin James, former member of the Martha Graham Ensemble to the company as guest choreographers this season.

Ballet 5:8’s The Living Room Series will also continue this season. In this unique experience designed for an intimate setting, dancers along with a pianist and a spoken word artist, come to your home and tell a story through a dance in your living room.

“The Living Room Series actually was sparked by a story about my own grandparents. My grandma and grandpa Rubio are just an incredible inspiration to me, and they have a lot of stories that I heard growing up in their living room about how they overcame many challenges and raised my dad, and how the challenges of being second generation immigrants in America has shaped our family.” said Slager. “So, using that as a jumping off point. I’m also collecting other stories from the dancers, from some of the audience members, from friends of mine, and my goal is to really make this ballet something that is a custom curated experience that will speak to the lives that we lead in our living room.”

Ballet 5:8 also has an online forum for audiences to view original performances which are filmed specifically to give them a fantastic online experience.

For more information on Ballet 5:8’s new season and presentations go here and watch the video above.