Ballet 5:8's “Imagine Better" at the Bartlett Performing Arts Center -- April 6.

Saturday, April 6, 7 p.m.

Bartlett Performing Arts Center, 3600 Avenue of the Cities, Moline IL

With See Chicago Dance raving that "it’s easy to feel the heart of this company and the passion that resonates from its mission," the gifted artists of the female- and minority-led company Ballet 5:8 return to the Quad Cities for their performance of Imagine Better, an evening of magical choreography and unmistakable passion taking place at Moline's Bartlett Performing Arts Center on April 6.

Imagine Better invites audiences to imagine a better world through honest, relevant, and breathtaking dance. In the intimacy of a theatre through the beauty of movement, the group's hope is that guests will witness the good, the beautiful, and the true in their repertoire featuring Lost Women of Juarez, Wind, Counterpart, and The Sea Is Flat.

In the borderland between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, thousands of women have tragically vanished since 1993, their lives abruptly cut short by nameless malevolent forces. Their names matter and their story must be told even when the headlines fade away. Just because something is common doesn’t mean it is right and The Lost Women of Juarez is a fight against becoming desensitized to the horror of femicide in Juarez. Julianna Rubio Slager, a Chicana with a deep personal connection to the story, approaches it with sensitivity, empathy, and authenticity. Influenced by her heritage, her choreographic style combines contemporary ballet, traditional Mexican dances, and storytelling techniques. Through her vision, she will give life to the stories of these women, capturing their essence and the emotional journey they endured.

Steve Rooks' Wind feels the ethereal embrace of an unseen force. A former dancer at the Martha Graham Dance Company, Rooks draws inspiration from the music of Alfonso Peduto. The music becomes a partner in the piece, weaving a symphony that echoes the delicate dance of leaves in a gentle breeze or the tumultuous roar of a storm.

Counterpart is Julianna Rubio Slager's breathtaking new pas de deux and 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.

The Sea Is Flat explores the capricious power of the sea and a divine presence that speaks order into chaos. The relentless force of the sea takes center stage as an awe-inspiring and dangerous entity that humanity has long grappled with. The unpredictable and devastating power of the waves creates a captivating spectacle that leaves audiences breathless.

Since its founding in 2012, Ballet 5:8 has presented more than 50 critically acclaimed ballets forging a robust repertoire. Headquartered in Orland Park, Illinois, Ballet 5:8 is the only performing arts company in Chicago’s south suburbs. The School of Ballet 5:8 serves more than 400 students a year as a cultural staple in the community. The school also has a Beverly Campus on Chicago’s South Side, and a Lakeview Campus on Chicago’s North Side, raising up the next generation of aspiring artists.

Ballet 5:8's Imagine Better will be performed at Moline's Bartlett Performing Arts Center on April 6, admission to the 7 p.m. performance is $15-30, and more information and reservations are available by visiting

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