The Space in Between: Emily Ratkos

Ballet 5:8’s 2018/19 Season program features Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager’s brand new ballet The Space in Between, a story inspired by C. S. Lewis’ novel The Great Divorce. Throughout this spring, we'll be checking in with the dancers to hear about their experiences preparing for and performing The Space in Between.

Company Artist Emily Ratkos

Company Artist Emily Ratkos in rehearsal for the Grey Town movement from  The Space in Between .

Company Artist Emily Ratkos in rehearsal for the Grey Town movement from The Space in Between.

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

A. In The Space in Between, I am a member of Grey Town, as well as a Spirit.

Q. Based on your experience so far, how would you describe The Space in Between?

A. The Space in Between takes contemporary ballet as we know it to a deeper, more thought-provoking level, highlighting C.S. Lewis’s unique perspective on eternity from The Great Divorce.

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

A. In Grey Town, the style of movement is punctual and emphatic. Character-wise it’s every man for himself, and this glorification of self worth and promotion is easily translated in the steps and phrasing. The stage is set with fog and dimmed lighting, allowing both the dancers and audience to feel enclosed in the heavy environment of the piece. The movement itself must be executed without hesitation and at times packs a punch of energy that is almost unsettling. Each succession of steps requires a strong core yet mobile spine, allowing for suspended movement off center while maintaining strong lines. In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges of contemporary ballet is finding and maintaining clean lines while pushing the shapes of the body to the extreme.

In stark contrast to the members of Grey Town are the light and uplifted qualities of the Spirits. They are softer and have more breath in their movement, though they remain strong and have a calm, resolved energy. It can be hard to make this transition in emotion and physicality, but it helps maintain the clarity of the story for the audience.

Q. How has the story impacted you?

A. This story has further shown me the purpose in freedom of choice, and the difference between despair and destruction and beauty and hope.

Q. Why see The Space in Between?

A. The Space in Between follows a captivating, powerful storyline that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat, and allows the imagination to have no limits.