LakeCities Ballet Theatre’s Le Ballet de Dracula has just the right mix of both.
The LakeCities Ballet Theatre delivers plenty of tricks and treats at its 6th fall production of Le Ballet de Dracula at the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater in downtown Lewisville. Written by Tom Rutherford, who doubles as the evening’s emcee, and choreographed by LCB Artistic Director Kelly Lannin, this two-act original ballet draws us into a world where gypsies, weolas (mischievous bat-like creatures), vampire brides and Dracula reside.
Keeping with the kid-friendly theme, the first act is very light and upbeat. The curtain opens to reveal a fall festival in a small Romanian town. Townsfolk and gypsies take turns stamping, clapping and in the gypsies’ case swinging their skirts and rolling their hips. The first act culminates in a lively and exciting maypole dance. The gypsies and townsfolk dance around a 15-foot tall maypole holding stripes of colored material which they systematically intertwine and then unwind.
It’s at this festival where our young lovers Marius (Ruben Gerding) and Aurelia (Sarah Johnson) become betrothed and where Dracula (Shannon Beacham) comes to steal Aurelia’s soul. Johnson and Gerding make a lovely pair. The couple’s pas de deux is clean and controlled. They both have a great sense of timing, never cutting their movements short. This comes in handy for Johnson’s (assisted by Gerding) perfectly executed ponche arabesques. Beacham fully commits to his role as Dracula. He struts around the stage and displays his strength by consistently lifting Johnson over his head with ease. Dracula also knows how to make an exit.
The second act is the complete opposite of the first. Ominous music, a fog machine, dim lighting and vampire brides with fangs dressed in sheer white dresses set the scene for Dracula’s castle. The brides, led by Marcela (Mika Vera), perform a hauntingly beautiful dance which includes jetes, pirouettes, bourrees and battements in multiple criss-crossing formations done to a pulsating beat. Fists fly and bodies collide as Marius and Dracula battle for Aurelia. At the climax Marius (with help from scene-stealer Ratcliff) dramatically stakes Dracula and saves the girl. With every convulsion, Dracula’s brides fall down dead in a cleverly choreographed scene. In the end good conquers evil and Dracula is dead…or is he?
Bravo LakeCities Ballet Theatre for creating and executing a ballet complete with inventive storytelling, fresh choreography and elaborate set designs that appeal to a diverse crowd of dance enthusiasts and those looking to get into the Halloween spirit.
This review was originally published on www.theaterjones.com.