Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
Must-see stylish vampire drama
Translating the fear and horror of Bram Stoker's Dracula into two hours of dance may seem like a feat but this creative masterpiece from the Mark Bruce Company was more in-line with the novel than many films.
Atmospheric scenes in the fantastic dance version of Dracula.
It's a sexy, atmospheric production that wreaks with pure gothic Victoriana and stays very true to the original, using a mixture of classic ballet, contemporary dance and even a tap dancing routine in the style of Fred Astaire.
I caught The Mark Bruce Company performing the story in Birmingham at DanceXchange during a UK tour that continues to cities including London, Leicester and Glasgow.
There's wonderful touches like using a bird on a stick to carry letters from leading character Jonathan Harker to his love Mina to tie in with the many letters and journal entries in the novel. While dancers are transformed into wolves and horses to create the realistic image of a horse-drawn carriage roaring its way to Dracula's castle. You can almost feel the wind whistling past your ears.
These are just some of the inventive ways Mark Bruce has managed to convert elements of the narrative into this riveting, sensual and stylish choreography.
Animals feature heavily in this production of Dracula
Visually, there's a lot of black leather, steam punk fashion and corsets (plus blood, of course) to a soundtrack mixing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata with the pre-war dancehall tune of The Preacher and The Bear, but the most dramatic moments are always saved for the classical symphonies.
Dracula, played chillingly by excellent award-winning dancer Jonathan Goddard, is an agile and tenacious character who is as drawn to the humans around him as our hero Jonatham Harker is to him.
He is terrifying without even saying a word, as are his trio of vampire brides (Nicole Guarino, Grace Jabbari and Hannah Kidd). They are seductive and haunting at the same time with an ability to turn extremely ghastly and animalistic.
What's refreshing is that the choreography makes clear these vampires are monstrous killers and not the romantic teenage fantasy seen of late in movies like Twilight.
Haunting and sexy, Mark Bruce Company's dance version of Dracula
The action keeps moving effortlessly combining drama, gentle romance and even elements of comedy.
When Dracula finally sets his sights on Lucy Westenra in her bedroom, the movements combine her pain and unease but also the seductive all-consuming power of the vampire.
This dance production demands attention and unlike Dracula, rather than sucking the life out of you, it re-energises you with excitement. It's a must-see.
Mark Bruce Company's Dracula - UK Tour Dates
October 15 - 18
For tickets call 0844 338 5000 or visit the DanceXchange website.
October 21 - 22
For tickets call 0116 2423595 or Curve website.