Tattered dresses worn by the undead, a cape with bat-like wings and lots of black and red — not your typical ballet costumes.
The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre company opens its 2017-18 season Oct. 27 with “Dracula,” based on the 1897 gothic horror novel.
“‘Dracula’ flows well and is a fascinating ballet,” said PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr. It’s a tale of good vs. evil, where good wins, he said, adding that’s a rarity in most ballets. Classic works are often dark, and “We’re living in a dark time, aren’t we?” he said.
A quick recap of the ballet: Dracula is unhappy with his slew of “undead brides,” so he goes looking for and fixates on the fresh blood of a young woman, Svetlana. She and her finacé get wrapped up in a love triangle with the vampire. (Yes, it’s a bit different than the book.)
Without giving too much away, Orr and Janet Groom-Campbell, PBT costumier listed off a few of the show’s can’t-miss details. There will be flying dancers, explosions(!), surprises at the end of each act — and a “certain amount of magic,” too, Orr said.
Check out these costumes
- Dracula’s horses and carriage. In the first act, two dancers dressed as horses speed onto the stage pulling a black carriage. The dancers are already over 6-feet tall, but the horse heads make them look even taller, Orr said, adding that makes for a grand entrance and exit when they come on stage with a cloud of smoke off the back of the carriage.
- Dracula’s cape. Groom-Campbell built the cape here in Pittsburgh, and both she and Orr said the dancers have to practice carrying it across the stage because it’s so heavy. The cape is designed to look like a bat’s face on the outside, with a purple lining. Poles create the spines of the bat-like wings, Groom-Campell said.
- The undead brides. Each bride’s dress is different, fading in color from cream to gray, Groom-Campbell said, adding that the dresses are tattered to look like the brides “climbed out of graves.”
See the costumes yourself
See Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre perform the classic "Dracula." Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27 and Saturday, Oct. 28, as well as at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28 and Sunday, Oct. 29. Tickets are available online, by calling 412-456-6666, or by visiting the Box Office at Theater Square.
Where: Benedum Center for the Performing Arts at 237 7th St. (Downtown)
When: October 27, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. to October 29, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
How much: $28 and up
In addition to the four performances, you can check out these “Dracula” events that are free to ticket holders:
- Afterthoughts — 10:30 p.m. Oct. 27. Talk with dancers and other artists from the production in the front of the orchestra section after the show.
- Family Pointe — 1 p.m. Oct. 28. An all-ages event where you can meet Dracula’s creepy horses. Enter at the Stage Door, 719 Liberty Ave. Make reservations.
- Insights — 7 p.m. Oct. 28. Join a discussion before the show with Orr and Christopher Budzynski, faculty at the PBT school who danced in “Dracula” when PBT last performed it in 2011. Meet on the mezzanine at the Benedum Center. Make reservations.
- Talks with Terry — 1 p.m. Oct. 29. Chat with Orr before the show in the theater.
Editor’s note: The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre was one of the sponsors of The Incline’s Who’s Next Bash swag bag.