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 Apprentice Kennedy Ditzhazy
Q. What role(s) have you been dancing?
A. I’ve been dancing as the Shameful Woman in the Valley of the Shadow of Life, as well as a Spirit in Heaven. The Shameful Woman is a Ghost who’s ashamed of her appearance, while my Spirit character represents an angel in Heaven.
Q. Based on your experience so far, how would you describe The Space in Between?
A. The Space in Between brings the story of The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis to life with vivid creativity, artistry, storytelling, and beautiful movement. It’ll take the audience on a journey as the Narrator travels from Hell, through the Valley of the Shadow of Life, and finally, to the much-awaited Heaven scene. It’s one of the most powerful ballets I’ve ever been a part of.
Q. Describe the movement. What has been easy to capture and perform? Challenging?
A. The movement quality varies depending on the scene. Grey Town, or Hell, encompasses cold, sharp, contemporary movement, while the movement in Heaven exudes light and beauty through more classical shapes. It’s been easier to capture a bright joy while rehearsing Heaven, however in the Valley of the Shadow of Life, it’s been more of a challenge to depict a movement quality that suggests a Ghost wandering through sharp, rough terrain.
Q. How has the story impacted you?
A. The story has revealed to me that Hell doesn’t just have to be seen as the stereotypical pit of fire we’ve all come to imagine, but actually is a place where self-reliance, isolation, hatred among others, and a lack of surrender reside. Watching the Narrator travel through the darkness of Hell to the effervescence of Heaven has been such a powerful journey to witness in rehearsals.
Q. Share your perspective on the relation between The Great Divorce and what the audience can expect to see of your featured character in the ballet.
A. The audience can expect to see the Shameful Woman depicted exactly how C.S. Lewis portrays her in the book. They’ll notice how uncomfortable, miserable, and self-conscious my character is around the opaque Spirits since she’s a transparent Ghost. This ultimately leads to her resentment and unacceptance of herself.
Q. Why see The Space in Between?
A. From the captivating music, to the handcrafted costumes, to the complexity of the dance movement, to the distinct characters depicted throughout, there are a multitude of powerful messages the audience will take away from The Space in Between.