Between the Twilight Series and shows like True Blood, vampires have been in the spotlight a lot lately – but they aren’t often seen in the dance world. Until now, that is.
For two nights only – tonight (April 6th) at 8 PM, and tomorrow (April 7th) and 8 PM, draMAStic dance works presents Dracula: dance macabre at Onancock, Virginia’s North Street Playhouse.
Last night, I spoke with draMAStic dance works Director Mary Stiegelbauer and Dracula cast member Dwight L. Trice Jr. about the cast’s creative process, and about what to expect from the show. Read on to learn more!
Alyssa Schoeneman: Mary, what made you want to produce this show?
Mary Stiegelbauer: After my first show, Intrigue – a mystery on marley, I was trying to think of something that would have as much meat in the story, and that I would be able to give my dancers for character development. I have always loved Bram Stoker’s novel, “Dracula”. I took what stood out to me from the novel and turned it into a show.
AS: Dwight, can you talk a bit about the production and your role in it?
Dwight L. Trice Jr.: The production is called Dracula: danse macabre, which translates to Dracula: dance of death. I am Jonathan Harker, a lawyer who comes to Transylvania to help Dracula buy land in London. He gets trapped and falls prey to three seductive brides of Dracula. It is the romantic role.
AS: Talk a bit about the rehearsal process. What has it been like?
MS: It definitely has not been the easiest. I work with a lot of dancers who are from out-of-town, so coordinating work schedules has been difficult. I saw most dancers for two rehearsals before we started tech week this past Monday.
DT: The rehearsal process was intense; I had four rehearsals total before tech week. I would go up to Virginia (from North Carolina) for a weekend and then be off for a few weeks, and I would learn and review material from video posted on Facebook in the meantime. It was tough having a lot thrown at me at once, but that is a big part of being in a professional company. You need to be capable of going home, learning your choreography and coming back ready to work.
MS: I also have three student dancers who are my interns…I have been able to work with them the most. That was something I did on purpose, because I knew they would be the ones who needed the most rehearsal.
AS: What has been the most difficult aspect of being in the show/producing the show?
DT: The show itself is very cardio-based. The most interesting part of the process for me was being lifted. As a male dancer, I have never had the opportunity to be the flyer in any kind of movement. In this piece, because there are four strong males, we are throwing each other around a lot.
MS: We are doing a big scene where you can’t see Dracula in the mirror; we prerecorded dancer Ranele Winter in the mirror and we are projecting her image onto a TV…but the TV overheats and malfunctions. We also had to get the timing perfect so Ranele’s dancing matched the video exactly. That has been our biggest hurdle so far.
AS: What has been the most enjoyable part of the process?
DT: I have always been interested in the vampire world and Dracula, so being a non-vampire and seeing the transformation of people into vampires in the show is pretty cool. I also love the combination of acting, contemporary and ballet in the production, and being able to work with people from all over the country. We have dancers from New York, Michigan, Virginia and North Carolina in the show.
MS: I specifically hired dancers who just love to dance, and who want to be part of the process…people who I knew would want to have creative input. Being around people who love this process as much as I do has been amazing; this cast is incredible, and they work really hard for me.
AS: What do you hope the audience takes away from the performance?
DT: I hope the audience gets an idea of what dance theater is – the ability to tell a story through movement and to build characters that people can relate to.
MS: I hope that audience members leave with an appreciation for this art form. I hope they are entertained and that seeing this show makes them want to go see more art.
AS: What’s next for the company?
MS: It is funny, everyone has been asking me that lately. Right now, I have a few ideas, but nothing is permanent because a few theaters are interested in producing Dracula. Some are also interested in producing Intrigue again. Maybe we will do something new next Spring. I tend to leave a year between our big shows.
DT: I would love to work with this company again in the future. We don’t know what the next show will be, but some of us are pushing for Alice in Wonderland. This company has a lot of room to grow and could go really far.
Dracula: danse macabre
Tickets: $12 for adults and $8 for students.
Call The North Street Playhouse at 757-787-2050 for tickets or order your tickets online:
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