An Evening of Dance with C.S. Lewis

October 9, 2019

Ballet 5:8 is coming to Wheaton College on Friday, November 1 at 7:30 p.m. to perform “The Space in Between.” Presented by both the Marion E. Wade Center and Wheaton College Artist Series, the ballet is inspired by C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce.

Ballet 5:8, The Space in BetweenIn “The Space in Between,” Ballet 5:8 sets C.S. Lewis’s literary and theological brilliance to dance.

Drawing from Lewis’s book The Great Divorce, Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager choreographs a riveting ballet, in which dancers tell the thought-provoking story of passengers on a bus ride between heaven and hell.

"The dance illuminates Lewis's fantastic word pictures of a town where it constantly rains, a bus ride full of unhappy ghosts, and the joy that awaits for those who stay until the last bus stop," Slager said. "The choreography is an athletic spectacle that is breathtaking to watch, especially when paired with the powerful philosophical truth about the afterlife that Lewis’s work explores. The couture costumes and the state-of-the-art lighting design combine to 'baptize the imagination' leaving endless moments in the minds of the audience long after the performance is over."

Ballet 5:8 is the only major Christian professional ballet company in the Midwest. Its mission is “to engage communities in Chicago, the Midwest, and across the nation in conversation of life and faith through innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance.”

“Lewis’s works have inspired scores of books, as well as novels, films, and plays,” said Dr. David C. Downing, co-director of the Marion E. Wade Center and co-holder of the Marion E. Wade Chair in Christian Thought at Wheaton College. “We are delighted that his words are now finding new expression in music and dance.”

Ballet 5:8 will also be performing two smaller pieces based off Lewis’s other works. “Meditations” explores how a different perspective can lead two similar people to opposite conclusions—an analogy Lewis used to describe the mystery of faith in “Meditation in a Toolshed.” Slager takes a page out of The Weight of Glory for “Of Splendors and Horrors,” a piece which is making its world premiere at Wheaton College.

“The Wade Center is eager to highlight how our authors continue to inspire imagination and the arts in our own generation,” said Dr. Crystal Downing, co-director of the Marion E. Wade Center and co-holder of the Marion E. Wade Chair in Christian Thought at Wheaton College. “Ballet 5:8 is a perfect expression of Lewis’s living legacy.” 

The performance takes place on Friday, November 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Edman Chapel, located at 401 E. Franklin Street on the campus of Wheaton College. General admission tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children and students, and free with an Artist Series subscription package.

Before the ballet, audience members will have the opportunity to hear from Slager and the members of the ballet company during a pre-event program, Grace Notes, held at 6:30 p.m. in Edman Chapel. In addition, Dr. David Downing will present a free, pre-ballet lecture on Lewis’s The Great Divorce at 4 p.m. in the Wade Center Bakke Auditorium, located at 351 E. Lincoln Ave. in Wheaton.

To purchase tickets or for more information, visit the Artist Series ticket page or call 630.752.5010.—Emily Bratcher