The Dayton Ballet gets spooked with their ‘Haunted Series’
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik
For elementary and middle school-aged children, Halloween means dressing up as their favorite cartoon character or tween celebrity — hello, Hannah Montana! — and going door to door to trick-or-treat.
Adults, on the other hand, celebrate October 31 in other ways, sneaking into their kiddos’ goody bags while watching a scary movie at home or heading to a party where they, too, can indulge their childlike urge to don a costume.
But for the dancers at Dayton Ballet, the spooky holiday comes in the form of their season opener, “The Haunted Series” which will be presented Oct. 20th – Oct. 23rd at the Victoria Theatre. The show will include two one-act story ballets, Sleepy Hollow and Hyding Inside, by the company’s new artistic director, Karen Russo Burke.
“I’m really excited to perform Karen’s version of Sleepy Hollow,” said dancer Erika Cole of Russo Burke’s take on the popular tale. “It has been so exciting working with the children from the school and having them in rehearsals.”
Dayton Ballet’s world premiere of Sleepy Hollow follows the adventures of Ichabod Crane, the main character in Washington Irving’s original short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, first published in 1820. Other familiar characters from the story, like Brom Bones and Katrina Van Tassel, will also be present in the show.
“My favorite part of Karen’s take on the story are the Spirits in the Forest,” said dancer Case Bodamer. “They are three sort of ethereal beings that continually influence the direction of the story with their energy. The challenging choreography really showcases the talent of our dancers.”
Dancer and Dance Captain Katie Keith Dettling said Russo Burke’s take on the ending of Sleepy Hollow is especially exciting: “There have been so many variations on the telling if this story, and the ending of this one really caught me by surprise,” she said.
Following Sleepy Hollow is Hyding Inside, a show that is loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Hyding Inside, which is returning after its original debut in 2009, explores the depths of the human psyche. Audiences will follow the thrilling and mystifying story of the two faces of Dr. Jekyll and the internal struggle of the woman who loves him.
Opportunities for entertainment are not limited to the company’s performances. A children’s costume party complete with games, food and prizes will take place before the Saturday matinee from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. There will also be a pre-show dialogue and a post-show Q&A session with the performers for audience members who would like to learn more about the performances.
“The Haunted Series” is the first stop along Dayton Ballet’s season. The company’s annual holiday performance of The Nutcracker will take place the first and second weekend’s in December. In February, audiences will have an opportunity to see “The Romance Series” which will include Russo Burke’s The Butterfly Suite, based on the 1898 short story Madame Butterfly by John Luther Long. In addition to that performance, the company will also present Ballet Austin’s Artistic Director Stephen Mills’ Red Roses and a new piece by Dayton native Gina Gardner-Walther.
Finishing up the season is “The Spring Series” which will also kick off a year-long tribute to Dayton Ballet’s 75th Anniversary Diamond Celebration season.
“This season has a lot to look forward to,” Cole said. “The Nutcracker is always fun, and I’m especially looking forward to performing Karen’s version of Madame Butterfly.”
The 2011-2012 season also brings new faces to the company — dancers Jesse Campbell, Marco Clemente and Lauren Stenroos.
“There is some great new, yet still cohesive, talent in the company this year,” Keith Dettling said. “I am excited to continue collaborating with all these great dancers.”
Tickets can be purchased by calling Ticket Center Stage at 937-228-3630 or 888-228-3630, or visiting www.ticketcenterstage.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Caroline Shannon-Karasik at CarolineShannon-Karasik@DaytonCityPaper.com.