There’s something about October that makes fear feel enticing. It’s a time to seek out haunted houses, devour ghost stories and be enthralled by scary movies.

The Canton Ballet is tapping into that atmosphere with “Dracula … The Ballet,” a two-night performance (October 20-21) at the Canton Palace Theatre.

“It’s certainly out of the realm of your pink and white tutu,” said Angelo Lemmo, the Canton Ballet’s choreographer in residence. “It’s not that kind of production.”

It’s not the first time the Ballet is bringing Gothic romance to the stage. The company first mounted “Dracula…” in 1996. Audiences have been asking for a revival, Lemmo said.

Lemmo choreographed the two-act production, which is based on Bram Stoker’s classic 1897 novel.

“I think it’s an exciting ballet,” he said.

There are moments of romance between love interests; a bit of tension when the town’s people discover their children missing. “I think it’s a good fall endeavor,” he said.

In one scene, the character Lucy dances a “Pas de Quatre” with three “shadows.” The dance is choreographed so Lucy never touches the ground.

Guest artist Damien Highfield of GroundWorks DanceTheatre in Cleveland will perform the title role of Dracula. Mina, the main female lead, had not been cast by press time, but will be a member of the Canton Ballet company.

The production features about 80 different parts, necessitating lots of costume changes for the roughly 40 cast members.

“Dracula…” also features plenty of fog, smoke and moving lights—the kind of thing you’d expect to see in a Gothic tale. Unlike your typical vampire production, the ballet doesn’t show any blood.

“We chose to suggest it, the gory part, but hide it in a sense,” Lemmo said.

Lemmo also scored the production with a musical “collage of all kinds between classical, contemporary, new age.”

The score is designed to provide a continuous auditory experience, with sounds ongoing from before the curtain rises to when it falls at the end, he said. “There’s no breaks. Even during blackout, there’s sounds.”

“Your ear is never left alone during the entire ballet,” Lemmo said.

The production is under the creative direction of Cassandra Crowley, the Ballet’s artistic and executive director.
The show is not for children, though teenagers should be able to handle the frights.

Tickets for Dracula are on sale now. Admission is $21 to $25 for adults and $15 to $17 for children younger than 18. Group discounts are available.

To purchase seats, see cantonballet.com, call 330-455-7220 or visit the ballet box office in the Canton Cultural Center for the Arts at 1001 Market Avenue N.

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Jessica Holbrook
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