Review By Bonnie Gordon
You have one last chance to catch the stunning original ballet “Dracula” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Duane Smith Auditorium in Los Alamos. Don’t miss it. New Mexico Dance Theater Performance Company brings the iconic story of the master vampire to life in a production that, much like the Count himself, is elegant yet eerie, thrilling yet poignant.
Director and choreographer Susan Baker-Dillingham’s original ballets always achieve high emotional impact, and “Dracula” is no exception. The elements of“Dracula” come together perfectly to create a highly charged atmosphere where we wait breathlessly for the next dramatic moment.
The young company does justice to the exciting original choreography of Baker-Dillingham. Like silent film, ballet must tell its story entirely visually, through movement and expression. Alicia Bowyer is wonderful as the brave but vulnerable Mina Harker, bringing feeling and depth to the role as well as beautiful dancing.
Gary Cooper as County Dracula brings just the right tone to the Count. He’s both alluring and sinister. His movements are controlled, yet there’s an untamed quality to his performance that’s just right for the character. Alice Veirs as Lucy and McKenna Schoonover as “The Fair One” are standout dancers.
All of the performers bring a great deal of emotional depth to their roles. In a small part, Mathew Connor Davenport as Arthur Holmwood made me feel every bit of his anguish when he must stab his undead fiancée to save her soul.
The big corps de ballet numbers were one of my favorite parts of “Dracula”The brides of Dracula perform two ethereal, moving numbers and the village scene that opens the ballet captures a breathless excitement that sets the mood perfectly. In a new piece of choreography in this production of “Dracula,” a carriage, compete with horses and dancing wheels adds to the spectacle and excitement of the opening number.
The exquisite sets by Holly Haas would be worth the price of admission by themselves. They conspire with the performers to make the world of “Dracula” a beautiful and mysterious place where anything might happen.
Tickets for “Dracula” are available at the door. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, and free for children age 4 and under. For more information about the NMDT School and Performance Company, visit www.nmdt.org