When close friends and fellow dancers Amy Kozol and Julianna Slager moved to Chicago together in 2009, they dreamed of starting a ballet company.
Their dream officially came true on Wednesday afternoon, when the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting to celebrate Ballet 5:8, the professional Christian performance company Kozol and Slager opened this summer.
“I think there’s a real need for art and for art education in any community,” said Slager, who is the company’s artistic director.
Ballet 5:8 is a touring company, apiring to bring dance presented from a Christian perspective to the greater Chicago area. The company’s primary focus is classical ballet, although performances sometimes include routines set to Christian contemporary music.
The name of the organization references the Bible, specifically Romans, chapter five, verse eight, which states, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Kozol said that this verse speaks to the motivation and mission of the company.
Ballet 5:8 includes dancers from all over the country and the world, most of whom moved to the Frankfort area to dance with the company. Dancers hail as far as Australia and Bolivia.
The company began rehearsing in mid-August and danced at Chicago’s Daley Plaza for the International Arts Festival this summer. They perform approximately twice each month across Chicagoland.
Kozol and Slager also oversee the Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts. The school offers classes for children as young as three, recreational dance for adults and a pre-professional ballet program for high school students. Classes range in cost from $45-$220 per month.
Students of the School of the Arts will perform two full-length ballets at Lincoln-Way East High School each year.
Kozol said the school is a way to involve families and children in the company and build a sustained relationship with the community.
Ballet 5:8 is a nonprofit organization. The company is predominantly sustained by the School of the Arts and by donors.
Kozol and Slager created the company by merging their burgeoning organization with Frankfort’s Turning Pointe School of Dance, when the studio closed earlier this year.
“It’s a high-level, high-quality dance program,” said Keith Ogle, president of the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce. “It’s great to have this sort of cultural influence here in Frankfort.”
Ballet 5:8 is located at 20517 S. La Grange Rd. To learn more about performances and classes, visit the company’s website.
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