Published: 19:02, 08 October 2019
One of literature’s most sinister creatures comes to the stage in Canterbury this week.
Northern Ballet’s Dracula is based on the iconic Bram Stoker novel and sees the famous vampire travel to England after becoming transfixed on a vision of the innocent Mina.
Unable to curb his dangerous desires, Dracula terrorises a town, and as Mina realises she is powerless to resist Dracula’s lure, the pair succumb to their mysterious lust, before the hunter becomes the hunted.
Northern Ballet’s artistic director David Nixon, who also choreographed and directed the show, said: “Bram Stoker’s Dracula continues to have a strange allure, drawing people in more than a century after the novel was first published. It explores the ends to which one might go to live forever rather than face the unknown of death, and how far we are prepared to allow the bonds of friendship and love to take us. As a character, Dracula is often viewed as evil, preying on the innocent, but all creatures need to be loved and Dracula is no exception.”
For principal dancer Javier Torres, who is from Cuba, taking on the role, the character’s evil side is undaunting. “I have never had any problems with playing evil characters, I quite like them!
“The challenge for me is that Dracula is a different kind of evil than I’ve done before. I’ve performed as O’Brien in 1984 and the Commandant in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas but Dracula is different. I feel comfortable with the challenge of it though. With the tender side, I feel comfortable because I consider myself to be a sweet guy. I know how to be tender and I like the mix of drawing on that and combining it with the evil. The hardest thing is including the tenderness with an evil character, it’s very hard to do, especially in one ballet and one character.”
What was more of a challenge for him was his costume.
“The cape is very challenging to dance in. I would say it weighs at least 3-4kg, probably more. We use it every day in rehearsal because it is a part of Dracula’s character. There’s a moment where I have to forget that I have arms, I need to think that I have wings, that I am a bat - it’s really hard. It’s a massive extension of your body, a heavy extension.”
He will perform alongside Abigail Prudames as Mina, who is taking on her role for the first time, while for Javier it’s a second outing, after taking on Dracula in 2014 with Dreda Blow.
“I love Dracula because the difference between what is vampire and what is human is interesting. In rehearsal I’m told that I need to be careful not to get too human, not to get too emotional. But I like to play my version of Dracula with a touch of humanity.”
He will play the role at the Marlowe Theatre but also in Northern Ballet’s first live cinema broadcast, something he is looking forward to.
“This one for Dracula is going to be special though - it’s live and it’s on Halloween."
Dracula is at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury from Wednesday, October 9 to Saturday, October 12. Book tickets at marlowetheatre.com or call 01227 787787.
For tickets to see it at cinemas across the county on Thursday, October 31 click here.
More by this authorAngela Cole