Carolina ballet's Dracula dazzles audiences
Stewart Fussell on October 31
This is not a stereotypical ballet. Carolina Ballet’s production of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” and their rendition of Edgar Allen Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death” showcase a darker side of a delicate art form. The Carolina Ballet performs these shows together during their fall season in the spirit of Halloween. Both shows have dark themes of romance and violence and are expertly portrayed by the company’s dancers.
These programs are choreographed by Lynne-Taylor Corbitt and Robert Weiss, the long standing artistic director for the prestigious ballet company. The lead roles are switched between the principal dancers of the company on different nights, but each dancer brings their own life to the show.
A few of these principal dancers include Lilyan Vigo, Jan Burkhard, Richard Krush, Lara O’Brien and Margaret-Severin Hanson, known as “Peggy.” Many of the company dancers come from all around the world. Paraguay, Uruguay and Hungary are just a few examples. Krush, O’Brien and Hanson have all spent time performing guest roles in a local Nutcracker here in Greenville. In addition, a few dancers from Rose have had the opportunity to take various classes taught by Vigo, Krush, Burkhard and Hanson.
The Carolina Ballet is based out of Raleigh and hosts many performances at the Duke Energy Center in central downtown. Tickets are usually reasonably priced around 30 dollars and most performances are held on Sundays and Saturdays, with a few on Thursdays and Fridays. I was able to see the Oct. 10 performance of “Dracula” and the “Masque of the Red Death.”
The first half of the performance featured Krush as the “Red Death” and Hanson as the female lead, while the second portion, “Dracula,” had Marcelo Martinez as the lead. O’Brien and Hanson also had lead female roles in this section of the show. These world renowned dancers have astounding capabilities and extraordinary amounts of talent that are showcased in these shows.
“Dracula” and the “Masque of the Red Death” are both programs with very dark themes and unusual qualities. Not many ballets feature a mental patient dance, for example. If you are looking for frilly tutus and tales of storybook romance, then I would not suggest this show for you. This production is about violence, sensuality and for the most part, death. It definitely has moments of comic relief from its brooding nature, but this show is definitely not what is expected when you go to a ballet. This show breaks free from the typical ballet mold and is definitely worth a trip to Raleigh.