Dracula dances into hearts

Featuring stunning ballerinas and engaging music, the Inland Pacific Ballet’s presentation of “Dracula” was an amazing performance.  Not only was the theater a lovely structure, but the stunning costumes, beautiful scenery and graceful movements made a captivating experience.  The play was held in Bridges Auditorium at the Claremont Colleges the 21 and 22.

The dancing was absolutely beautiful.  Each character had a distinct style, but it was Stephanie Orza’s that truly shined.  An experienced ballerina, Orza was expressive and fluid in every movement, portraying the main character, Mina Murray as a character the audience could easily sympathize and fall in love with.

Bryan Ketron, as Mina’s lover John, also danced handsomely, but something about his personality did not complement Orza’s dancing style.  As a passive character within the presentation, Ketron did not mesh well with Orza’s passionate, animated Mina.

Steven Voznick did well in his role of Dracula, but not much dancing was really involved for him.  He only seemed to wander around the stage, spooking each character and occasionally being serious about his dancing.

Another character that is worth mentioning, not only for his dancing capabilities but for his all around ability to entertain was Renfield. Eric Shah made the character funny, creative and lively.

Besides these four main characters, each dancer had a unique style that added to the overall breathtaking quality of the performance and really brought the emotions in this battle between light and darkness to life.

In the opening scene, gypsies have gathered to bury one of their fallen friends, dead from a strange bite on the neck. An old gypsy woman, played by Franceska Hughes, reminds her young friends that they must beware of Dracula, the vampire.

She warns them that in order to save their souls from the vampire they must dance. Yet at the end of the second scene, another poor gypsy dies from Dracula’s bite.

It is in a different part of town where Mina Murray, played by Orza, is preparing for the ball.  She dances with her lover, a lively blonde John Harker, Ketron.  When their friends come, all four depart happily for the ball.

Another character, Renfield, played by Shah, is on his way to the dance when he is suddenly overtaken by three mysterious women.  These women attack Renfield and he becomes a vampire as well and a servant to the all powerful Dracula.

At the ball, Dracula finally reveals himself in the fourth scene. Played by Voznick, he wanders around the dancers, continually singling out Mina as his next victim.

Act two begins with Mina acting strangely. Her friends do not understand what is wrong with her.  She is now under Dracula’s spell.

Dracula emerges from his coffin and dances with his many spirits. They emerge from everywhere within the castle and celebrate his awakening.

Mina is strangely drawn to Dracula and looks everywhere for him. She is frightened but cannot help sneaking into the castle, avoiding Renfield, who keeps trying to dance with her.  When Dracula appears, he commands her every movement.  As they dance together in the dark, Mina falls prey to Dracula’s overpowering bite.

In scene four, Mina is in her bed tossing back and forth.  Her friends and her lover John do not know what has gotten her so sick. When they discover vampire bites, they leave her and go into town, stirring up people to help rid them of the evil Dracula. Meanwhile, he appears at Mina’s window and takes her to his castle.

Here they begin to perform a wedding ritual, but the townspeople enter and a battle breaks out.  Dracula’s spirits and the townspeople are trying to destroy one another, while John and Mina’s friends try to save her.  The performance closes with an act of desperation, after which Mina and John dance together in the confirmation of their love for one another.

Before and after the performance, the Inland Pacific Ballet offered the opportunity for audience members to take a little piece of Dracula home with them.  IPB vendors sold porcelain and fabric masks out in the lobby of the theatre.  These masks were linked to the performance because many of the characters were wearing masks throughout the dancing.

Whether standing on tip-toe or blinking behind a glittery sequined mask, the dancers in “Dracula” made the performance a fine night of masterful ballet that audience members will not soon forget.

Lilia Cabello can be reached at lcabello@ulv.edu.

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Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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