Venue: The Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts
Date: 23 October 2003 8.00pm

Reviewer: Ross Michael Pink


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In a unique interpretation of dance, Colorado Ballet, one of the rising companies in the American dance
scene, led by artistic director, Martin Fredmann, has staged the infamous story of Dracula.

The results are visually and emotionally stunning.

The Dracula ballet, choreographed by Englishman Michael Pink, who was born in York, is a powerhouse of intense and compelling dance.

The story at first seems unusual for a ballet to tackle. All the more reason to celebrate Pink's artistic daring.

Michael Pink based his ballet on the novel 'Dracula', written in 1897 by Bram Stoker, which tells the tale of Jonathon Harkers trip from London to Transylvania, Romania to finalize Count Dracula's purchase of properties in England.

Harker's life unravels in horror when he visits the estate of Count Dracula. He is plunged into a world of dark demons and a monster, Dracula, who requires human blood, taken by force, to survive.

Pink's ballet starts slowly and for good reason. He carefully leads the audience into the dark and mysterious world of Dracula and effectively portrays the innocence and civility of the young Harker who comes to visit.

 

 

 

 

In both the dancing and the visuals, the competing images of good versus evil are vividly portrayed.

The dancers of Colorado Ballet are excellent. The dancing of Hua Zhuang is simply a tour de force performance. Zhuang, who was born in Beijing, China and danced with the National Ballet of China before coming to the USA, is a tall dancer and has a regal bearing. The lead role of Dracula is a physically demanding role complete with sweeping movements, jumps and leaps across the stage.

Zhuang has outstanding technical abilities and also acrobatic talents which enhanced his performance.

In the most intense scene of the ballet, Dracula is preparing to bite the neck of Harker, who is now in a daze. Dracula seductively dances around him and slides against his body. It is both fascinating and pathetic to watch the helpless Harker being played with by Dracula, like a cat toying with a mouse before the kill.

The choreography of this scene was extraordinarily complicated, seductive and emotional and a testament to the brilliance of Michael Pink and Hua Zhuang.

Migual Castro, who hails from Mexico, was excellent in the role of Harker. He is a dancer of fine movement and emotional depth.

Michael Pink, with Dracula, has cemented his reputation as a major international figure in choreography.

2003, Ross Michael Pink


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