Carolina Ballet serves up a double dose of spooky dancing

Reviewed by Doria Worden
Times-News correspondent

   RALEIGH — The classic tale of Dracula brings horror, love and passion to any soul brave enough to endure the story. That epic legend came to life on the Fletcher Opera Theater stage when Carolina Ballet performed “Dracula” and “The Masque of the Red Death” to a nearly sold out house last Saturday night.
The evening began with “The Masque of the Red Death,” a ballet based on the chilling story written by Edgar Allan Poe. The scene involved a masked ball with eight couples clad in stunning dresses and costumes. Soloist Alicia Fabry and corps de ballet artist Adam Schiffer danced the leading roles of the sun and the moon to angular, unique choreography that impressed with the difficulty of the partnering.
   The Arabian couple, danced by Lara O’Brien and Adam Crawford Chavis, was fascinating. O’Brien’s extensions and flexibility were breathtaking and every transition and lift with Chavis seemed effortless. The Red Death, danced by Richard Krusch, was a spectacular character that made the skin of the audience crawl with every ominous advance. The music had an eerie quality that heightened the sense of unease and dread the characters felt for the Red Death. At the end of the dramatic scene, the masked characters all fell victim to the fatal disease and the horror reached the audience as the Red Death stood alone on the stage with the curtain descending silently.
“Dracula,” the main attraction of the night, was told flawlessly by the dancers and the choreography by Lynne Taylor-Corbett. A narrator told the story as it progressed, improving the understanding and flow of the ballet. The title role was danced by principal Marcelo Martinez, who captivated the audience with his exceptional acting and sly portrayal of the evil Dracula. Margaret Severin-Hansen and Lara O’Brien were stunning as the leading women in the ballet. Severin-Hansen was seemingly weightless as she glided across the stage. The stage effects were equally as breathtaking. Shadows flitted across the scenery, creating the illusion of Count Dracula descending on his victims. Martinez seemed to appear out of the shadows and slither across the stage. All characters mesmerized, from the grotesque twisted sisters, to the creepy but humorous mental patient, Renfield; the audience was captivated at every turn. The musical score, composed by J. Mark Scearce was wonderfully sinister and brought the horror of Count Dracula to life.
Performances of “Dracula” and “Masque of the Red Death” are at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. Tickets range from $30.14 to $68.11 at all Ticketmaster outlets.

 Doria Worden is a junior at Western Alamance High School
and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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