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Toothy tale: Festival Ballet Albuquerque stages ‘Dracula, a Love Story’

“Dracula, a Love Story” is staged for the first time in three years at the NHCC. (Courtesy of Festival Ballet Albuquerque)

As a choreographer, Patricia Dickinson Wells enjoys the challenge of a production.

With “Dracula, a Love Story,” Dickinson Wells finds herself, once again, pushing her boundaries.

Although the production has been staged by Festival Ballet Albuquerque in the past, there are new elements, she says.

“This one is back by popular demand,” she says. “It’s been three years since we’ve staged it, and we’re excited about it.”

The ballet will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, and Saturday, Feb. 15, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

The ballet is based on Bram Stoker’s classic, with a few twists, Dickinson Wells says.

Festival Ballet Albuquerque is staging “Dracula, a Love Story” at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. (Courtesy of Festival Ballet Albuquerque)

The ballet begins with Prince Vladimir bidding farewell to his princess as he leaves to campaign against the Turks.

When he is gone, his enemies send an arrow through the castle window, bearing a note announcing Vladimir’s death in battle.

The Princess believes the message and, despairing, throws herself out of the window to die in the waters below.

Vladimir returns triumphant from battle, only to find the body of his princess lying on an altar, watched over by her loyal handmaiden.

Upon being told she will not be given last rites because of her suicide, Vladimir goes mad.

The valiant defender of Christianity turns against his faith, attacking priests, monks, and the holiest of symbols, the cross itself.

Centuries later, in 1897, young Jonathan Harker, a solicitor from London, is preparing to travel to Transylvania to replace his colleague, Renfield, who for unknown reasons has gone mad during his visit to Count Dracula’s castle. Jonathan is accompanied to the train station by his lovely bride, Mina, and her best friend, Lucy Westenra.

All the while, Dracula is wreaking havoc in England.

“Dracula, A Love Story” sticks closely to Bram Stoker’s classic novel. (Courtesy of Festival Ballet Albuquerque)

New to the production are both Natalee Maxwell and Zane Barker, who play Lucy and Renfield, respectively.

The production has dancers returning from three years ago.

Kevin Gallagher is returning as Dracula and Lora Stern as Nina.

Dominic Guerra and Antionette Segura will be the king and queen of the underworld.

“They are getting a more expanded version,” she says of the roles. “I’ve been able to expand the choreography more with those that are returning. With the new characters, I enjoy the time of learning how their bodies adapt to the choreography. That’s the fun part.”

Flying by Foy from Las Vegas, Nevada, will be coming in to help Dracula fly.

“I mean, he’s got a 26-foot cape,” Dickinson Wells says. “There’s mystery to this entire ballet, and it’s great to have the opportunity to present it again.”

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