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Kathleen Wessel is the author of this review.
Atlanta Ballet, with the return of British choreographer Michael Pink’s “Dracula,” deliciously mixes pleasure and pain in this blood-spattered love story. Forget roses and chocolate for Valentine’s Day; “Dracula,” with its sumptuous costumes, extraordinary set design and exquisite dancing, is the real treat this week.
Based on Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel of the same title, “Dracula” — which runs through February 16 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre — offers a refreshing twist on the narrative ballet and proof that the genre can still feel relevant. Oftentimes, story ballets can get bogged down in pantomime that’s difficult to follow. And gender roles — women look delicate and pretty, men lift and adore them — can get stuck in the 19th century. Happily, Pink’s choreography is light on pantomime, and the movement for both men and women is theme-appropriate. He allows the choreography to carry much of the emotional weight, and the result is a visceral experience for the audience.
*Photo of John Welker, left, as Dracula with Brian Wallenberg as Jonathan Harker by Charlie McCullers courtesy ArtsATL.com and Atlanta Ballet.