Ballet With Bite: Ballet West Kicks off 2011-12 Season With Thrilling Utah Premiere of DRACULA

Ballet West delivers a delectable Halloween treat with the Utah premiere of Ben Stevenson’s blockbuster production of Dracula, set to the music of Franz Liszt as arranged and orchestrated by John Lanchbery, October 21, 22, 26 - November 1, 2011. Hailed by The New York Times as “a Dracula Beyond Stoker’s Darkest Dreams,” this wildly theatrical ballet features vampire brides who fly through the air, a ghastly coach that careens on and off stage, and exciting drama and dance for the entire Company.

“Stevenson’s ‘Dracula’ is like a ride through the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland,” said Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute. “From the sumptuous scenery and exquisite costumes, to the brilliant choreography and storytelling, this thrilling work will leave audiences breathless.”

In his quest to bring Dracula to life in balletic form, Stevenson turned to the conventions of the great ballets of the nineteenth century for inspiration and guidance. He created the work in three acts, with a corps de ballet (comprised of Dracula’s 18 vampire brides), scenes of peasant revelry, and four stunning pas de deux for the central characters that firmly anchor the dramatic action of the ballet.

Stevenson was immeasurably aided by his three collaborators in evoking the Gothic grandeur of Stoker’s novel: scenic designer Thomas Boyd, costume designer Judanna Lynn and the acclaimed ballet arranger John Lanchery. Inspired by the works of the great German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), Boyd created three distinct spaces for the ballet, each redolent with dramatic atmosphere: the dank crypt of Dracula’s castle in the first act; the picturesque village square of the second act; and the bedroom of the count, where he ravishes his victims, in the third act. For her creation of the 70 exquisitely detailed costumes used in the production, designer Judanna Lynn was also influenced by late 19th century German Romantic painters, including Caspar David Friedrich and Arnold Bocklin (1827-1901). In preparing her designs, Lynn did research on costume design in Romania at the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute in New York, as well as drawing on memories of a trip to Budapest.

“This ballet version of Dracula is live entertainment at its best,” Says Sklute “Just scary and provocative enough for adults but not too scary or provocative for children.”

Ballet West will give 11 performances of Dracula in the Capitol Theatre, 50 West 200 South, in downtown Salt Lake City. Ticket prices range from $18 to $75 and may be purchased by calling (801) 355-ARTS or at www.arttix.org.