Wednesday, October 12, 2011
LakeCities Ballet Theatre to open season with Le Ballet de Dracula in Lewisville
They had to scale the ballet down because the stage is smaller than the one in Lake Dallas.
For the first time in five years, the LakeCities Ballet Theatre (LBT) will perform its original Dracula ballet in Lewisville.
The 28th LBT season will kick off with three performances of Le Ballet de Dracula. The ballet will be performed at the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater, 100 N. Charles St. The theater was built on the original grounds of what used to be the First Baptist Church of Lewisville where Le Ballet de Dracula first premiered six years ago.
"We're very excited to be back in Lewisville," said Kelly Lannin, artistic director. "We've been performing for this in Lake Dallas for the past five years because we couldn't use our fog machines here. People love this ballet, and it usually draws in a younger crowd because it's not a traditional ballet."
When the ballet first premiered, Lannin said there was no money and no place to perform.
"I thought it would be cool to perform this in an abandoned church, so we performed at the old First Baptist Church," Lannin said. "It was very small and hard to produce there, but it turned out great. It was a very intimate performance."
Performances of Le Ballet de Dracula will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. A pre-performance workshop will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday for guests middle school aged and younger. The workshop is free with the purchase of a performance ticket. The children will have a chance to wear stage make-up and dance with Dracula's brides. Audience members are encouraged to dress in Halloween costumes and participate in a contest to be held at intermission.
"This is an age-appropriate and kid-friendly ballet," Lannin said. "It starts in the town so it's a happier start than other Dracula stories. I wouldn't bring children younger than 6, but I think anything older than that is OK."
Le Ballet de Dracula is an original ballet written by Tom Rutherford and choreographed by Lannin.
"I thought that Halloween is such a big holiday that people would enjoy this. I thought the best thing to do would be to take a subject that everyone knew, like Dracula, but put my own spin on it," Rutherford said. "After I finished the story I brought it to Kelly, and we started working on the ballet. I bet we went through 100 pieces of music trying to create the best score for the ballet."
Lannin said she always wanted to choreograph a Dracula ballet. She said selecting the music for the ballet took time because she wanted to have different music for each character that captured their personality but also flowed together to create the ballet.
"It is an amazing talent what Kelly does with music," Rutherford said. "Because this ballet is ours, we can do with it what we like."
This year, Lannin added a new dance -- a ribbon dance.
"I wanted to put more excitement into the first act," Lannin said. "This is a Romanian dance, so I spoke with experts on Romanian dancing before choreographing the piece. It's a very exciting dance."
Rutherford said this year they also had to scale the ballet down because the stage is smaller than the one in Lake Dallas.
"Similar to the first performance, this will be very intimate," Rutherford said. "I think it will be a great experience for us. We'll have to redo some of the sets and dances, but we'll make it work. The story will stay the same just some of the pieces will be different."
Le Ballet de Dracula opens at a fall harvest celebration held by the locals of a small eastern European village. After winning the heart of the young maiden, Aurelia, Marius asks her father's permission to marry her. He gives Aurelia a necklace and jeweled crucifix as a present, but soon, the couple is confronted by a strange visitor, who becomes intent on having Aurelia for himself and enlists the help of his minion, Ratcliff, to steal her away. At the peak of act one, the true nature of their uninvited guest is revealed as an entranced Aurelia is swept off of her feet by this un-dead creature, Count Dracula.
"I really like performing this ballet because it's so different," said LBT senior member Sarah Johnson, who performs as Aurelia.
Johnson has danced in Le Ballet de Dracula every year it has been performed. She will also perform the lead role in LBT's performances of The Nutcracker.
"It's a lot of responsibility, but they are two very different ballets," Johnson said. "Learning the part of Aurelia was really fun. I especially like dancing the second act because it is very dramatic."
In the second act, the Marius must fight his way through Dracula's castle and fight for the life of Aurelia. In the opening scene, the audience learns that Aurelia is not the only bride in the castle. Dracula's harem of brides is led by the evil Marcela, played by Mika Vera, LBT company member. The brides appear ready to fight with supernatural power to please their master and rid the castle of Marius.
"The first time I saw this ballet, the young Dracula brides scared me. They really get into the part," said Ruben Gerding, who performs as Marius. "I like this ballet because it gets very dark. If you want to see a good production, you should see this ballet."
This year Shannon Beacham, will make his first appearance as Dracula.
"I've always wanted to dance as Dracula," Beacham said. "For me, the best part of the ballet is act I because I like playing the part of the imposing threat."
Tickets for Le Ballet de Dracula are $15 and are available online at www.lakecitiesballet.org or by phone at 972-966-8006 and at the door.
For information, contact LakeCities Ballet Theatre at 972-317-7987 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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