Upstate New York Ballets Dracula

Marysa Dalton as Lucy

Like Jade, Marysa Dalton allowed the music to prepare her for the role of Lucy Westenra. A native of New Zealand, Dalton was a member of the Royal New Zealand Ballet's corps de ballet and performed in their adaptation of "Dracula."

"To date it was my favorite ballet. That production had blood and gore, and it was just a fun ballet to do," Dalton said.

After moving to New York City a year ago, Dalton came to Upstate's "Dracula" auditions in September and found out about securing the role of Lucy only a week before beginning rehearsals in Syracuse. Because of the lack of preparation time, she relied on the music.

"It just gets you in the role," Dalton said.

Inspired choreography

Aside from the score, Jade's choreography is inspired by the dancers and their natural capabilities.

"I take what I see them doing and create choreography from that so the movement is organic to their bodies," she said.

Jade's choreography juxtaposes long, classical lines and sharp, dramatic angles to satisfy both elements of classical ballet and gothic storytelling necessary for "Dracula." These conflicting styles work well together, as the roles of those still human incorporate the more classical, and those playing the undead perform seductive, sharp choreography, evoking a sense of otherness.

The contrast of these styles is clearly seen in the choreography for Lucy Westenra (Dalton) and Mina Murray (Morgan McEwan), characters who are bitten and transformed by Dracula (Brandon Alexander). Before their encounters with the Count, both women dance with the long, fluid lines of a classical sensibility. After they are seduced and bitten, their movements become frantic, sharp and much more sensual.

Jade believes that if the dancers are comfortable with their choreography, they will focus more on their performance than getting the steps right, which is vital for this show--just ask Dracula.

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