Michael Pink’s Dracula Opens October 21st

Seen by over 500,000 people worldwide

The Wisconsin premiere of Michael Pink’s “Dracula” will haunt the Uihlein Hall stage of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts October 21-30, 2005. Seen by over half a million people worldwide, Michael Pink’s internationally acclaimed story ballet is fascinating, terrifying and romantic all at the same time.

Tickets to the Milwaukee Ballet’s “Dracula” start at $20 and can be purchased by calling the Marcus Center box office at (414) 273-7206 or toll free (888) 612-3500 or by visiting the Milwaukee Ballet Web site at www.milwaukeeballet.org.

Dracula show times:
Friday, October 21st @ 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 22 @ 7:30 p.m.
Sunday October 23 @ 1:30 p.m.
Thursday October 27 @ 7:30 p.m.
Friday October 28 @ 7:30 p.m.
Saturday October 29 @ 1:30 p.m.
Saturday October 29 @ 7:30 p.m.
Sunday October 30 @ 1:30 p.m.

Here’s what the critics have to say: “Michael Pink conveys the drama through incredibly creative, always sexy dance…” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) “a bravura work of theatre – a taut, dark tale that happens to speak in the language of dance.” (The Rocky Mountain News)

“Dracula – so good it’s scary!” (The Denver Post)

“‘Dracula’ has proven itself to be one of the most spectacular dance productions in the world,” Pink said. “This is the perfect introduction to the world of non verbal theatre - simply not to be missed.”

Based on Bram Stoker’s classic gothic horror story, “Dracula” is a frightening tale of the nocturnal Count who survives on the blood of the living.  With the combination of dramatic choreography by Michael Pink, an original score by Philip Feeney and set and costume design by Lez Brotherston, “Dracula” delivers sensuality and danger in a dance narrative combining story enhancing sound effects like the beating heart that opens the show and the frightened voices of the humans Dracula is stalking.

Accompanied by the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra’s performance of Philip Feeney’s luminous score, the dramatic music and cinematic scenery will captivate audience members from curtain rise to curtain fall.
Dracula is generously sponsored by Assurant Health. Northwest Airlines is the official airline of the Milwaukee Ballet.

Founded in 1970, the Milwaukee Ballet Company strives to inspire its audiences to think within and beyond traditional ballet through the presentation of quality performances and the implementation of educational opportunities.   With an annual operating budget of $5 million, the Milwaukee Ballet Company presents more than 40 performances to 70,000 people each year. For more information about the Milwaukee Ballet, call (414) 902-2103 or visit the Milwaukee Ballet online at www.milwaukeeballet.org.

Dracula Synopsis

Prologue

Jonathan Harker’s mind is flooded with images of his terrifying experiences in Transylvania…in his delirium his ravings have been dreadful – of wolves and poison and blood, of ghosts and demons…

Act I

Charing Cross Station, London

Mina and Dr. Van Helsing accompany Harker to the station as he sets off on his journey to see Count Dracula in Transylvania, where he is to conclude the Count’s purchase of properties in England. A mental patient, Renfield, being escorted through the station, causes a disturbing incident.

Transylvania

Harker arrives in Transylvania, where he watches as villagers enact a violent ritual of sacrifice to protect their village from the dangers that threaten on All Souls Night. The ceremony is interrupted by a sinister figure, Count Dracula’s coachman. Despite the desperate appeal of a bereaved woman, Harker continues his journey to Dracula’s castle.

Castle Dracula
i) Arrival         ii) Vampires       iii) Dracula & Harker

The Count welcomes Harker into his home and, having made him comfortable, withdraws. Harker sinks into a reverie and is visited by three women who both fascinate and terrify him. His seduction is interrupted by an enraged Count Dracula who distracts the vampire women with alive blood offering.  Dracula now begins his domination of the helpless Harker. As the climax of their union approaches, Harker’s scream of terror wakes him from his nightmare, and he finds himself in the sanatorium with his wife’s arms around him.

Act II

Winter Garden at the Grand Hotel, Whitby

At a Tea Dance in the Grand Hotel, Mina’s friend Lucy dances with her suitors, while unbeknownst to them, a Russian ship approaches with a sinister and dangerous cargo. Only Harker is sensitive to the impending danger. A violent storm interrupts the dance, breaking open the windows and at the height of its fury, the figure of Dracula appears on the terrace. The hotel guests are unaware of his presence, but Lucy is drawn to him. As the sound of the storm returns, Dracula disappears and Lucy is discovered dazed and almost unconscious.

The Sanatorium

Lucy is taken to Dr. Van Helsing’s clinic where her anxious fiancé and her friends visit her. As they leave from the night, Van Helsing, who has noticed the strange puncture marks on Lucy’s neck, takes the precaution of surrounding her with wild garlic. This does not prevent a second visit from Count Dracula. Later that night, Lucy’s body is discovered on the floor of her bedroom.  The heartbroken men grieve the loss of this beautiful young woman.  As her fiancé places a crucifix on her lips, Lucy attacks him violently before escaping into the night. She has become Nosferatu, one of the undead.

Act III

Mina’s Room

Mina, alone in the sanatorium, thinks of the terrible danger that is hovering over them all. After the departure of the men, she and Van Helsing are startled by the escaped mental patient, Renfield, who attacks Van Helsing and draws blood before being overpowered by the wardens. Concerned for Renfield’s suffering, Mina tries in vain to comfort and understand him. As she waits anxiously for the return of the men, she imagines with horror what her friend Lucy has become.

The men fail in their attempt to find Count Dracula, but later that night, as Harker sleeps, the Count enters Mina’s room. Van Helsing discovers them as Dracula suckles Mina with his own life blood. Van Helsing has no power to prevent the Count from escaping and taking an unconscious Mina with him. Count Dracula has chosen to celebrate his union with Mina in the vault at Carfax Abbey. His heartbeat is the pulse that summons the Nosferatu to the ceremony. Renfield has become the sacrifice, and it is his blood that links the undead as they dance in adoration of their master. As the celebrants prepare for the consummation of the ritual, an explosion blasts through the crypt and daylight floods into the vault. Dracula can withstand the light but his power is diminished and his adversaries pursue him, finally driving a stake through his heart. The survivors are left to come to terms with their experience.

Michael Pink

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER

Michael Pink began his tenure as Artistic Director of the Milwaukee Ballet Company in December of 2002. Since that time he has established himself as a prominent member of the Milwaukee arts community, demonstrating his commitment to the future of dance through education and collaboration. His artistic vision for Milwaukee Ballet is both exciting and challenging. Mr. Pink’s dramatic production of Romeo & Juliet took narrative dance drama to a new level of interpretation. His new production of The Nutcracker thrilled and delighted the audience.

Mr. Pink trained as a classical dancer at the Royal Ballet School, performing in several productions at the Royal Opera House. His talent for choreography was first noted and encouraged by Dame Ninette de Valois and Sir Frederick Ashton. His early choreographic work won him first place in the inaugural Ursula Moreton Choreographic Competition and the Royal Society of Arts Competition. He was also invited by Sir Frederick Ashton to assist in choreographing the Anacat Fashion Show for HRH Princess Margaret. He joined London Festival Ballet [now English National Ballet] in 1975. During his ten years with the Company he danced many leading roles. Most noticeably was his partnership with Natalia Makarova in John Cranko’s Onegin.
He has worked as repetiteur for Rudolf Nureyev’s production of Romeo & Juliet at the Paris Opera and La Scala Milan.

In 1987 he became the Founding Director of Ballet Central. His collaboration with composer Philip Feeney produced many original works for the company as well as Memoire Imaginare, for Northern Ballet Theatre, which he later adapted for use by H.T.V. International as the centerpiece of a film drama. Mr. Pink joined Northern Ballet Theatre as Associate Artistic Director in 1988 after choreographing his first full-length production, Don Quixote. His other works for Northern Ballet Theatre include Danse Classique, Strange Meeting, Swan Lake, Dracula, Giselle1943, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In 2002, Mr. Pink created Romeo & Juliet for the Atlanta Ballet. His works have been presented by Boston Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Colorado Ballet and Atlanta Ballet.

Philip Feeney

COMPOSER

Philip Feeney studied composition at the University of Cambridge with Robin Holloway and Hugh Wood, and subsequently at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome under Franco Donatoni. His works have been performed extensively throughout Europe, and he is most noted for his work in ballet and dance. After a period as pianist/composer for the Teatrodanza di Roma (1980-84), he returned to London and has been composer in residence for the Central School of Ballet and musical director for their national tour ever since. From 1991 to 1995, he was a lecturer in composition at Reading University. As a pianist, Philip has worked with many companies, including Northern Ballet Theatre, the Gulbenkian Company, Birmingham Royal Ballet, London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, White Oak Project and the Martha Graham Company. Apart from over twenty scores for Ballet Central, he has collaborated with many different choreographers including Michael Pink, William Louther, Jane Dudley, Christopher Gable, Sandra Fuciarelli, Derek Williams, Chick Eldridge and Didy Veldman.

His long-standing association with Northern Ballet Theatre began in 1987 with Memoire Imaginaire, which initiated the prolific collaboration with Michael Pink that went on to produce Strange Meeting and Danse Classique. In 1993, he was commissioned to compose Jazz Concerto for choreographer Derek Williams. His first full-length production for NBT was Christopher Gable's Cinderella, and it was for Gable and Pink that in 1996 he wrote the highly acclaimed score for Dracula. This was closely followed by the music for Pink's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1997). All three ballets have been recorded on CD. While writing the score for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, he composed the music for Didy Veldman's Greymatter for Rambert Dance Company, renewing a long-standing collaboration with designer Lez Brotherston. Philip's most recent full-length score for NBT was A Streetcar Named Desire, choreographed by Didy Veldman, which was premiered in September 2001. In spring 2002, English National Ballet commissioned a score for a shorter work, Manoeuvres. International interest in Philip's work has continued to grow. In 2000, Royal New Zealand Ballet performed Dracula both in New Zealand and in Melbourne; in 2002 it toured The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In 2002, the Norwegian National Ballet presented Dracula in Oslo, and in 2003 Theater Vorpommern in Germany produced Hunchback. In the United States, both Dracula and Hunchback have been presented by Atlanta Ballet; Boston Ballet gave Hunchback in 2001; and in addition to Milwaukee Ballet's production of Hunchback in October 2004, Colorado Ballet is reviving Dracula, as well as presenting Hunchback.

Lez Brotherston

SET AND COSTUME DESIGN

Lez Brotherston trained at Central School of Arts and Design. He has designed sets and costumes for dance, theatre, and opera. He is an Associate Artist of Matthew Bourne’s company, New Adventures.  Most recently he has designed and co-directed Les Liaisons Dangereuses with Adam Cooper in Japan.  Other work in the field of dance includes; A Soldier’s Tale, Play Without Words, The Car Man, Cinderella, Swan Lake, Highland Fling, Bounce, Six Faces, Carmen, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, A Christmas Carol, and Romeo and Juliet. Among awards he has received for his work are a Tony Award for Swan Lake, an Oliver Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance for Set and Costume for Cinderella and most recently a Critics Circle Award for his outstanding achievement in design for dance.

LINKS TO “DRACULA” REVIEWS:

New Zealand Ballet Review:

http://www.nzballet.org.nz/read-more.php?page_guid=f518996b-8522-410a-8e...

Colorado Ballet Review:

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1083/is_2_76/ai_82322526/print