Festival Ballet Albuquerque returns with 'Dracula, A Love Story' - Albuquerque Journal

Festival Ballet Albuquerque returns with ‘Dracula, A Love Story’

From left, Mina, played by Lora Sturm, and Dracula, played by Dominic Guerra, in a scene from Festival Ballet Albuquerque’s “Dracula, A Love Story.” (Courtesy of Pat Berrett)

A love story that traverses four centuries.

This is the basis for Festival Ballet Albuquerque’s “Dracula, A Love Story,” which will be staged at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, and Saturday, Feb. 18, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

“It takes a leap of faith to follow the Dracula story,” says Patricia Dickinson Wells, Festival Ballet Albuquerque founder.

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

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.

Dickinson Wells says Dominic Guerra is returning to the role of Dracula. Guerra last played Dracula in the 2016 production.

He will be joined on stage with Lora Sturm as Mina.

“There are over 60 performers in the entire production,” she says. “I’ve added these ‘brides of Dracula’ or ‘She-Vamps’ for this production. These are six professional dancers who will be en pointe. There are no tutus in this ballet. It’s dark, yet beautiful.”

Rehearsals began in December and ramped up in the last six weeks.

Dickinson Wells says this will be the first time Festival Ballet Albuquerque will be able to put on a complete season since 2019.

“We’ve weathered a lot during the last two years,” she says. “We’re excited to be back and putting on a new season of dance. ‘Dracula’ is one of the most challenging productions that we put on. There are a lot of moving parts to it all and I’m excited to present it to the community.”

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