Entertainment

Modesto’s Central West Ballet sinks its teeth into Halloween program at Gallo Center

Central West Ballet presents “Dracula” at the Gallo Center for the Arts.
Central West Ballet presents “Dracula” at the Gallo Center for the Arts. Central West Ballet

A Gothic Halloween dance returns as Central West Ballet brings its “Dracula” back to the Modesto stage.

“Dracula” premiered in 2018 at the Gallo Center for the Arts. The program returns to the downtown Modesto venue Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18-19, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 19, at 2 p.m. The 2 p.m. show includes an interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing, according to a press release from Central West Ballet.

The company also will present the ballet at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Grand Theatre in Tracy.

The ballet’s concept, score and choreography were created by CWB Artistic Director René Daveluy. He “wanted to make the show much more of an inclusive theatrical experience by combining recorded narration, multimedia projections, set pieces and backdrops,” he said in the press release.

“Dracula” sold out last year and CWB expects it to sell well again.

“Central West Ballet dancers are very excited about ‘Dracula’,” Daveluy said. “The show lends itself to role playing for everyone, and the dances are electrifying. The story is dramatic and gives our dancers an opportunity to add more depth to their characters.”

Central West Ballet began presenting Halloween-themed productions with “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” in 2015. “The community’s reaction to our Halloween themes has been appreciated and so the prospect of doing more of these themes has given us an original platform on which to expand our seasons,” Daveluy said in the release.

“Dracula” became the next choice because of the story’s “charismatic protagonist and powerful presence,” he said.

Effort has been made to stay true to the Stoker novel, “albeit, in an evocative way,” Daveluy said.

“For an adaptation that uses dance as the catalyst, ‘Dracula’ makes use of the art of movement to convey drama, Gothic horror and sensuality throughout the show. Using projections to enhanced the story, ‘Dracula’ is a mixture of the old and the new,” he said. “Part silent movie and part live performance, the story is augmented by a complete recorded symphonic score rich in moods and scenes.”

Some characters have been added to more scenes than in the Stoker novel, while other changes are about logistics for dance so the story flows well from a ballet standpoint, according to the release.

Costumes are period-appropriate, late 1870s.

The production, based on the Bram Stoker novel, is intended for only those age 10 and older, CWB says. Daveluy suggests parental guidance because the show is intense. “Much of the suspense and horror is portrayed by the strength and acting abilities of our dancers, and they excel at giving thrills to our audiences with their theatrical qualities.”

Leads for the Oct. 18 performance will be Nicole Firpo as Mina Murray and Aaron Gulevich as Young Dracula, with Mario Vitale Labrador as Jonathan Harker and Erin McMahon as Lucy Westenra.

For the Oct. 19 matinee, Sarah Weaver will play Mina Murray and Grant Landon will play Young Dracula, with Mario Vitale Labrador as Jonathan Harker and Noelle Im as Lucy Westenra.

For the Oct. 19 evening program, Noelle Im will portray Mina Murray and Mario Vitale Labrador will play Young Dracula, with Grant Landon as Jonathan Harker and Lacey Elliston as Lucy Westenra.

“Dracula”

WHEN: Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18-19, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 19, at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto

TICKETS: $35-$39

ONLINE: www.galloarts.org

Pat Clark covers entertainment and other stories for The Modesto Bee. She attended California State University, Stanislaus, and grew up in Modesto.
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