‘Tis the season for a scary ballet. Le Ballet de Dracula is everything the wholesome Nutcracker isn’t…scary, bloody and spooky. LakeCities Ballet Theatre’s artistic director, Kelly Lannin prepared the audience on Friday night not to get too comfortable because it was about to get scary…it was the perfect way to get into the Halloween spirit.
My daughter and I started the weekend off right with some ballet bonding time. We sat in the audience anticipating to be transported back in time to 1897 Transylvania. When the curtain opened…stage magic did the trick and we were in Romania.
The Weolas (scary bat-like animals) opened up the show crawling out with cat-like confidence using their contorted arms and legs. We are introduced to Dracula’s minion, Ratcliff (Asia Waters) who scares the Weolas away by showing a golden cross.
The ballet takes a romantic turn when daytime arrives and the town celebrates the engagement of Aurelia (Amanda Evans) and Marius (Steven Loch). This first act is happy and light. The folk dancing was delightful…especially the Maypole dance with the gypsies, Romanian dancers and villagers all weaving in and out together all in the name of love.
When Dracula arrives with his pumpkin stealer minion, the scene turns creepy. In order to claim his new bride, Dracula hypnotizes Aurelia with a mysterious pas de deux.
My daughter kept asking, “When is it going to get scary again?” The answer came when act two began with more stage magic…fog, fangs, and hissing from Dracula’s scary brides that reminded me of the Wilis in my favorite ballet, Giselle (but much more frightening).
The brides hissed as they were awakened from their sleep in Dracula’s castle. They executed haunting jetés and bourrées with one hand gracefully over their neck. Their movement had a dark and eerie feel.
Dracula rose from his coffin with a dramatic red cloak ready to bite his new bride. Just when you think she’s a goner, Marius arrives to save Aurelia and with the help of Radcliff, he stakes Dracula. With each hit of the stake, Dracula’s brides collapse and finally so does Dracula. The ending makes you wonder…are they really safe from Dracula, is he truly dead?
Thanks LakeCities Ballet! We are now in a Halloween kind of mood!
Need Halloween costume inspiration? This was one of my favorite costumes…a Dracula bride. My beautiful former student wears it well.