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Upstate New York Ballets Dracula

A City Eagle Review

At a time when vampires rule screens big and small, why not let them take the stage as well?

On Saturday, Upstate New York Ballet did just that, performing their adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula at The Landmark Theatre.

"Dracula" opened with Jonathan Harker (Marco Abdelnor) in a nightmare, surrounded by ghosts and demons. As Jonathan writhed in terror on the bed, the corps de ballet surrounded him, frantically working their arms and hands in and out above his fitfully sleeping figure.

Occasionally, individual dancers broke away from the corps to perform a solo of pirouettes and extensions, and at times the entire corps left Jonathan's bed to cover the stage in chaotic movement.

From the moment the curtain rose, the audience knew that this was not a typical ballet.

Dracula, a dramatic tale of seduction, loss and revenge, lends itself well to classical dance. Upstate New York Ballet and choreographer Katrina Jade created their balletic adaptation of "Dracula" in 2001. Now in its second revival, Upstate brought Katrina Jade home to bring new life to the old choreography.

A native of Central New York, Jade currently resides in Los Angeles and is the founder and artistic director of Faux Pas Dance Company. A self-proclaimed "vampire fanatic," Jade choreographed Upstate's original "Dracula" production when Artistic Director Kathleen Rathburn approached her with the idea.

"I was all for it. I felt I had been preparing my whole life to create this," Jade said.

For her, choreography hinges on the perfect music, which she found in Philip Feeney's dramatic, gothic score of pulsating bass lines, screaming strings and bellowing organs.

"I listen to the music, close my eyes, and see the steps in my head. When I heard the score it started to come to life for me," she said.

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