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culture shock

culture shock

culture shock photoTHE COUNT
By Allyson Marrs

He's a known villain, but under that cape, that three-piece suit and that deathly leer lies a broken heart. He's a dead man walking, forced to remember the once-great love that's now lost. Unfortunately for the townspeople, he finds his revenge—his sustenance—in beating hearts, making Count Dracula a terrifying creature of the night.

Bellevue's International Ballet Theatre's (IBT) annual production of "Dracula" manages to find the beauty in the beast and the emotion in the non-beating heart. Several dance styles are fused—jazz, classical ballet, folk—by IBT's world-renowned choreographers and teachers for this special approach to the horror story.

Concepts have been borrowed from the famous novels "Dracula" and "The Snake's Pass" by Bram Stoker. "We started to look beyond the evil inside him and found him to be a tragic soul who is trying to cope with the loss of a love from long ago," says IBT's Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Frank Harlan. "Our story centers on these unique circumstances, and we see Dracula systematically take away all the loved ones around Mina so he can have her to himself."

In keeping with its mission to deliver fresh performances each year, Frank says "Dracula" will feature new choreography, sets and costumes, meaning, if you were in the audience last year, you're sure to experience something new this time too. "We are eager to spread the fright among our patrons," he says.

For some, this production will be a debut. Sophia Sevier, Kindsy Folkers and Emma Kretzer will all be dancing in their first IBT production, having studied at the International Ballet Academy, a ballet school partnered with IBT. The academy students are always able to audition for IBT productions, which is partly what makes the academy one of the most popular dance schools in the region, according to Frank.

"With every production, they are given the chance to express their passion and talent on stage," Frank says. From dancers who grew up in the area to international performers, the academy is full of up-and-coming talent.

For local residents, though, IBT and the academy are important pieces of the community because, according to Frank, they're a reminder that the performing arts matter. Through them, he says you unplug, if only for a few hours, to "bear witness and experience the art of dance with someone you love."

After all, isn't that all Dracula ever really wanted?

Vera Altunina and Jerry Tassin
Show times
Friday, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m.
with a special wine tasting from 6-7:15 p.m.
Sunday, October 27, 2 p.m.
General Admission: $40
Children younger than 12: $25
507 6th Street South
Kirkland, WA 98033


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