Tue. Jan 25th, 2022

 

Just in time for the 31st, Brandywine Ballet got West Chester into the Halloween spirit with their performances of “Dracula” this past weekend. 

Based off of Bram Stoker’s 19th century novel, the ballet tells the story of the tragic romance between Prince Dracula and Elisabeta. Dracula loses his bride, Elisabeta, to suicide after she assumes he has died in the war. Without her, he turns into a monster, sucking the blood of innocent victims across Europe for four hundred years. His killing spree continues until he happens upon a woman named Mina, who actually turns out to be Elisabeta, his long-lost love. She is engaged to Jonathan, but Dracula remedies this situation by kidnap-ping him. Unfortunately for Dracula, Mina is reluctant to believe that he could have been her lover so long ago. Frustrated, Dracula becomes attracted to Mina’s friend, Lucy, and turns her into a vampire. Eventually, Mina understands that the bloodthirsty monster is her old love and persuades him to bite her so she can join him in eternal life. The story ends with Dracula’s death; Mina drives a stake through his heart after he is mortally wounded by a group of Jonathan’s pals. A tragic, yet beautiful ending leaves the two lovers separated yet again.

Brandywine Ballet told this age-old story beautifully, and with remarkable ease. All of the dancers, from the leads to the ensemble members, deserve an enormous amount of credit for their graceful and breathtaking performances. Tim Early (Dracula), Hannah Telthorster (Elisabeta/Mina), Alex DiMattia (Jonathan), Caitlin Oeste (Lucy), and Joe Cotler and Barrett Powell (Lucy’s Suitors), performed their lead roles so skillfully that the audience was led to believe that the dancers were defying gravity at certain moments. Telthorster and Oeste complimented each other perfectly; Telthorster floated across and caressed the stage as the pure and graceful Mina, while Oeste powerfully writhed as Dracula’s victim, Lucy. 

At times, more than twenty dancers graced the stage. Yet, they never once made the scenes feel crowded or uncomfortable. Their precision in numbers like “Dracula’s Creatures,” left the audience breathless and contributed to the well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the show.

The elegant costumes, the intricate scenery and lighting, and the powerful music transformed the Emile K. Asplundh Concert Hall into a perfectly eerie setting for a pre-Halloween night of entertainment. Yes, that’s right: this wonderful performance took place right here on our campus. 

Students might also be interested to learn that West Chester University offers a ballet certificate program. The dedicated and talented participants of this program not only receive an undergraduate degree from the university, but top training from the Brandywine Ballet. Currently, five students are taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity. 

The Brandywine Ballet calls West Chester University home for its three seasonal performances each year. The annual performances of “The Nutcracker” will take place on Dec. 7-16 this year. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.brandywineballet.com or by calling the box office at 610-696-2711. The spring performance is “Grease” and will be showing from May 3-5. 

Graciously, the Brandywine Ballet offers WCU students half-priced tickets. Scoop tickets up for “The Nutcracker” right away and be prepared to enjoy a fantastic alternative to a night out on the town. I promise, students will not regret an evening spent enjoying top-of-the-line ballet from a truly fantastic local organization.

Molly Herbison is a second-year student majoring in Spanish. She can be reached at MH757997@wcupa.edu.

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