Atlantic City Ballet presents its take on the vampire legend in a free performance at Resorts.
Late October, with the festive vibe of Halloween in the air, is certainly the perfect time of the year to present the story of Dracula. The Atlantic City Ballet is bringing its version of the elegant bloodsucker to the stage of Resorts Superstar Theater this Tuesday, Oct. 30, for a special free performance.
Choreographed by the Atlantic City Ballet’s founder, Phyllis Papa, the ballet premiered in the fall of 2006. Based on the story of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the Gothic novel written by the author in 1897, the story is set in 15th century Eastern Europe and tells of a young lawyer, Jonathan Harker, who is captured and imprisoned by Count Dracula.
Inspired and obsessed by a photograph of Jonathan’s fiancé, Mina, Dracula goes to London to meet and victimize her. After draining the life of Mina’s best friend Lucy Westenera, Dracula ensnares Mina. Dr. Van Helsing is the doctor who becomes Dracula’s nemesis, determined to free Mina and kill her captor to rid the world of this monster.
Papa’s inspiration for her presentation of Dracula was twofold — to create a show that would work as a regular presentation in the fall season, and to bring a new, younger audience to ballet.
“I was looking for something in the fall that could be done annually. Halloween was getting bigger and bigger, so I was trying to figure out what I could do in October that would fit with the season. And I needed something that would appeal to new audiences. I wanted to get younger people involved since they don’t have it in school anymore, or they are not bringing school children to theaters anymore.
“I thought Dracula would be a perfect option, especially with the popularity of all the vampire movies, books and TV.”
She succeeded, noting that she is seeing audiences new to ballet, and that the popularity of the show has increased every year.
And parents if you are wondering, yes the show is scary in parts. “We advise that if small children are in the audience, we ask the parents to explain that it is all make believe.”
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In 1982 Phyllis Papa, an acclaimed ballet dancer whose credits include the American Ballet Theatre, established the Atlantic Contemporary Ballet Theatre in the Atlantic City area. Now known as the Atlantic City Ballet, her ballet company has been a treasured beacon of dance excellence in southern New Jersey for 30 years.
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