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Pop Filter Hot Pick: PBT's Dracula Brings Dance & Darkness to the Stage


In the days leading up to Valentine's Day, forget flowers and chocolates, and instead take in one of the city's rich cultural offerings with that special someone, group of girlfriends or roommates, favorite cousin, or best buddy.

With its production of Dracula, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) has the perfect combination of lust, love and longing for the occasion.

Set against the back-drop of 19th-century Transylvania--think gripping pyrotechnics, high-flying vampires, and even a runaway stagecoach--the Gothic tale will entrance audiences with a love story of the darkest (dis)order. For the spell-binding and spine-tingling blockbuster, PBT teamed up with the Houston Ballet to produce the artistically exceptional, full-length story ballet, which was choreographed by Ben Stevenson of Texas Ballet Theater.

Watch as Dracula dons a 12-pound cape, Svetlana spins sporting a silk organza wedding gown, and dancers dressed as horses pull a stagecoach. In designing the dancer's other-worldly wardrobes, Houston Ballet costume maven Judanna Lynn drew inspiration from 19th-century German romantic art, film adaptations of Dracula, Liszt's score, and Romanian artifacts from the Met's famed Costume Institute.

Breathing new life--and blood--into Irish author Bram Stoker's legendary 1897 tome, the production features a bevy of wig-adorned living dead brides, and of course at the center of it all, sinister Count Dracula, a timeless character consumed by blood-lust. Watch as mesmerizing dancers bring an age-old love triangle to the grand stage, when universal forces of good and evil vie for the love and affection of stunning Svetlana.

Augmenting the story's sinister sense of foreboding is an atmospheric score by famed Hungarian composer Franz Liszt and arranged by John Lanchbery. Set against Thomas Boyd's recreation of 19th-century Transylvania, the story unfolds within a crypt, village and Dracula's bedroom, eerie environs influenced by Balkan and Romanian architecture.

Taking Dracula into the 21st Century, the PBT has created an imaginative web miniseries that playfully portrays a day in the life of company dancers Eva Trapp and Robert Moore--who also happen to be vampires! Dubbed the "The Vampire Diaries," the four-part series features the talents of local cinematographer Christian Lockerman, band Denora, and scenes at St.John's Lutheran Church and Pavement. 

What goes into creating a ballet of such magnitude? Go beyond the stage with PBT's series of interactive pre- and post-performance programs, including Afterthoughts, Insights, Talks with Terry, and The Family Pointe.

Get tickets now, because when the production premiered here in 1997, all seven performances sold out.

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