‘Intimate’ Ballet Victoria performance set for the Sid

Mark Allan

Special to The Record

Familiarity might breed contempt in some circumstances, but it’s nothing but positive when Ballet Victoria visits the Sid Williams Theatre.

“We love coming up there once a year,” artistic director Paul Destrooper says in an interview from Victoria. “The Sid Williams is a small venue; it’s a very different, very intimate type of performance.

“You have a much closer relationship with the audience. Now the shows are always full … and I know my dancers enjoy going there. The audience has responded, and some of them have their favourites (dancers).”

As its first of four productions each season, the pro ballet company will come up from Victoria to perform Dracula on Oct. 20 at the Sid.

How does Destrooper plan to make his version stand out from all the others?

“I focus on the archetypes, besides the guy who bites necks and the gore and the gothic genre … people like the forbidden.

“People seek eternal youth. They want to stay beautiful; they like the idea of longevity, eternal life, wealth, power … People like the idea of eternal love.

“Of course, there’s always a price to pay.”

Destrooper pays special attention to the conflicted character of Lucy, the 19-year-old daughter of wealthy parents.

“She’s not sure what she wants with a relationship. Then there’s the opposite with Jonathan and Mina versus Arthur and Lucy.

“Jonathan and Mina have a very strong bond, so when they are tempted, be it alcohol, love, power or wealth, they are stronger.”

Destrooper is interested in a fundamental choice that the characters face.

“The character (Dracula) is the one who lures you and either you fall for the addiction whether it’s alcohol, drugs, power or wealth, and it destroys your life.

“Or, because you have people who care, because you’re connected, because you have a bond, you have faith in each other and destroy what could destroy you.”

Finding appropriate music for such dark, weighty subject matter was fun for Destrooper.

“I like to bring things from the past and also things that are very contemporary. I am using a mix of very traditional music, including Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony to add that weight like the ocean, like a latent power.

“I am using some beautiful Mahler. Also, I am using the Fifth Symphony of Elgar, heart-wrenching music, but quite romantic,” adds Destrooper, who also slips in something from Bizet’s Carmen. “And then Dracula has a beautiful solo to a tango by Piazzolla. The tango has the bite, that sensuality.”

And for a more contemporary feel?

“In terms of the dark and the suspense and the powerful, I’m using music from Tyler Bates from Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Destrooper, who loves films, expects more than just excellent dancing from his company.

“I want my dancers to act like they’re in a movie. I need their whole bodies, not just the faces, especially when we’re in smaller venues close up: People can feel it.”

Luke Thompson will portray Dracula and principal dancer Andrea Robyn Bayne will be Lucy.

Beginning its 15th season, Ballet Victoria has produced more than 70 new works.

* * *

Ballet Victoria performs Oct. 20 in Courtenay as part of the Sid Williams Theatre Society’s 2017–2018 Blue Circle Series. For more details, visit sidwilliamstheatre.com, phone 250-338-2430 or visit 442 Cliffe Ave.

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