The Space in Between: Libby Dennen

Ballet 5:8’s fall program includes 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 2018/19 Season, we'll be checking in with the dancers to hear about their experiences preparing for and performing The Space in Between.

Senior Apprentice Libby Dennen


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

A. I dance the role of the Hard-bitten Ghost. In the story, this character is so distrustful of everyone and everything that she can't look past her own cynicism to see the beauty and hope the Spirits want to show her. And she tries to convince the Narrator that if there's any hope at all, it can't possibly last.

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

A. It's a combination of narrative and abstraction. It uses shapes and movement patterns, as well as more simplified story telling, to pull out the many complex ideas found in the book.

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

A. A lot of the movement is very athletic, which can make it difficult to capture the character along with the intense physicality of it all. But it also forces you to embody the movement with every part of you.

Q. How has the story impacted you?

A. It has completely changed how I think about the relationship between heaven and hell. Which in turn, has impacted how I minister to others on the subject.

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. In The Great Divorce, the Hard-bitten ghost is convinced everything is a scam. He thinks whoever runs Heaven must also run Grey Town. Even when faced with the beauty of the Valley of the Shadow of Life, it is as if he's constantly asking, "Where is the lie?" This skepticism is brought out in the ballet with sharp, harsh movement, and eyes that constantly dart back forth, searching for the storm that must certainly be coming.

Q. Why see The Space in Between?

A. It's a paring down of The Great Divorce. The way several characters or interactions are rolled into one allows for a simpler narrative but also a deeper understanding.