Little did the Colorado Ballet board realize the prescience of its investment in Michael Pink's dance celebrating the famous vampire. While most performing arts organizations are now staggering from government cutbacks and the severe recession, two of the ballet's four productions this season are wholly-owned popular events: the perennial holiday favorite, The Nutcracker and the new Halloween ritual, Dracula.

Even after 9-11, attendance last season for this new ballet was strong, and for good reason—it is one of the most imaginative productions ever staged. The prologue, by itself, is the best dream sequence I've ever seen (over 700 different productions). And the quality of the stagecraft, music, and choreography continues throughout.

Philip Feeney's score is a well-struck balance of classical and impressionist elements, reflecting a story line that runs between English sensibility and Transylvanian blood lust, while fully complimenting Michael Pink's broad physical palette.

Zhuang Hua, as the bloodthirsty count, is masterful, mesmerizing his victims with sensuality then overwhelming them with power. Maria Mosina's Mina is an evocative mix of elegance and passion, while Michelle Dolighan's Lucy turns from flighty and flirty into a raging vampiress. Underneath all this, Gregory Gonzales' Van Helsing and Andrew Thompson's Renfield create polar tension between the forces of rationality and madness.

The Colorado Ballet's Dracula is a spectacle to behold—a ballet for the aficionado and the neophyte alike. It runs through November 2nd. 303-837-8888.

Bob Bows


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