Shades of Refrain: Emily Ratkos

Ballet 5:8's program Compass returns to the stage this spring in cities across the nation. Made up of four individual one-act ballets, one of the great things about Compass is its variety - both for the audience and the dancers! The works in Compass represent a wide range of movement styles, emotion and stories told, so there is truly something for everyone watching. Throughout this 2017/18 Season, we'll be checking in with the dancers to hear about their experiences preparing for and performing Compass: Navigating Cultural Tension with Compassion.


Company Apprentice Emily Ratkos

Q. How would you describe Shades of Refrain?

A. Shades of Refrain is a piece inspired by the book of Psalms, and is one of Compass's more abstract works. More than anything, Shades is a series of prayers expressed through movement.

Q. What role(s) have you been dancing?

A. In Shades, I dance with the corps de ballet. This piece specifically is so meaningful to perform as a corps, as we readily feed energy and expression off of one another; making thoughtful connections with each other, not just the audience.

Q. Describe the movement. What has been easy to capture and perform? Challenging?

A. The movement in Shades of Refrain is varied. At the beginning of the work there are lighter and more sustained moments, while the middle is more grounded and almost thrown at times. The end hits a larger peak of energy and strength and then is restored to a sense of peace and calm.

Q. What do you most enjoy about the work?

A. The most rewarding thing about Shades of Refrain is the feeling of freedom every time we perform it. Of course there is the technical nature of the piece we must always stick to, but the music has such breath to it that it makes you feel lighter as you dance.

Q. Why see Shades of Refrain?

A. Shades of Refrain is a must-see in my opinion. It will leave you feeling refreshed and at peace in the midst of the turmoil in the world around us.