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Nanatchka

'tis the season for sucking blood. . .What do you think of Dracula?

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It seems to be everywhere, at least in America - Halloween arrives and ballet companies are now trotting out their versions of Dracula.

What do you think? On the pro side, Colorado Ballet is able to schedule 23 performances of it. That means for some companies it could be a revenue producer like The Nutcracker. That's the beginning of the con side, too. There are many versions of the Nutcracker out there that are ballets first and foremost - how have those who have seen the spates of Draculas out there found they measure up as dances? As ballet?

What do you think? Is a company that's doing Dracula in the fall, Nutcracker in the winter and Cinderella in the spring doing what it ought to be doing, or doing what it needs to do to survive? (Or both!)

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I've never seen a Dracula, although I have seen many ballets that, well, bite.

If doing such things can keep a company in business these days, and employ dancers, more power to them, I say. But if all a company does is offer Nutcracker and ersatz "full length" story ballets, it's really shortchanging both itself and its audience.

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Leigh are you just using "Dracula" as a jumping off point for whether or not it is "wrong" for companies to only do story ballets because they sell tickets? Or is it poor Dracula that is the offending culprit here?

A couple of years ago, I wanted to take my daughter to see Pennsylvania Ballet's version of "Dracula"...and, of course, combine it with a busy day of Liberty Bell and other historic site visits. ;) So what can I say, I happen to like "Dracula"...granted there are some really bad versions out there...my favorite is the one with Louis Jourdan as the Count, flapping his way up the side of the turret...

If "Dracula" can be well done as a ballet, why not? If, however, all a company did was one story ballet after another and then proceeded to trot it out every single October, it could well get old. :)

I would suggest the old subscription approach: give 'em "Dracula" on October 31st and something without a "story" on another night...lure them in, so to speak. ;)

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We saw the Pittsburgh Ballet "Dracula", originally choreographed by (I think) Ben Stevenson. The Pittsburgh Ballet is a terrific company.

There was a lot not to like about it, but there was an excellent mad scene danced for Svetlana danced by Maribel Modrono--I think her sister danced the character with the mad scene at another performance we saw.

Redfield was also a character that could come alive on stage.

If you remove all the fluff--carriages, "is it over yet" pas de deux, Flying by Foy, strobe lights, smoke and a not insignificant amout of cape flapping, there isn't much left.

It might be dramatically more sound if it were "Svetlana and Redfield" with the Count and Flora in the background.

However, if it keeps the lights on and the dancers paid, go for it.

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Originally posted by Leigh Witchel

Is a company that's doing Dracula in the fall, Nutcracker in the winter and Cinderella in the spring doing what it ought to be doing, or doing what it needs to do to survive?  (Or both!)

With all due respect, if a company is surviving it is doing the right thing. Particularly true now as the recession lengthens and funding dries up.

Living in a ballet wasteland, I would love to have a decent company in Motown that did nothing but full length classics, especially if it had a good music director who could inspire the freelance musicians in the pit when they play Prokofiev, Tchiakowsky and others.

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But now, with so many versions of Dracula out on the ballet stage, can the Dracula parodies be far behind, in the manner of "Love at First Bite" or "Dracula-Dead and Loving It"?;)

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I saw the Louisville Ballet's production and I didn't like it at all! My mom and I went and we both didn't like it from the beginning during the insane assylum and awful music! During the intermission, we decided to eat dinner at the Bristol that was just inside the building instead. And believe me, I love mostly every ballet I see! :(

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I guess companies must do what they can to survive, and if a young person new to ballet goes to Dracula and enjoys it, well, that's a start. I have never seen a Dracula on the principle that you don't have to go to the Sahara to know what it's like, so far all I know some of them may be good. At this point I think the subject is inherently camp and therefore parody-proof (although I did get a kick out of George Hamilton in "Love at First Bite."

Renfield is a character part, at best, IMO. (For me, no one will ever be able to surpass the fly-catching fervor of Dwight Frye in the Bela Lugosi original.)

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How true to the original story is the ballet? The story takes place in both Transylvania and london. The british gentleman is bascially trapped in Vlad's Castle while Vlad seduces his Fincee in london. Boyfriend finally rescues Girlfriend.

It was over thirty years ago i read the book, pretty scary at the time.

I hope ballet companies do not fall into this ballet for Dec, this for October, this for Valentines Day. This for easter.

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Originally posted by dirac

I guess companies must do what they can to survive, and if a young person new to ballet goes to Dracula and enjoys it, well, that's a start.  

Well, my teacher said that her son (although not new to ballet, but in a beginning level) wouldn't sit through the Rockettes at all, but loved when the Ohio Ballet performed Dracula! :) I can sort of understand that though because he seems like a person who likes to get into a lot of mischeif.:D:P

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One of my teachers is from Romania (Rumania if you read the NY Times) And he said he would never do Dracula because it insults Ro/umanians.

It would be a perfect ballet for all those Eastern European Character dances we do (Mazurkas, Polonaises, Czardas, etc).

MJY

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