'Dracula' will open N.C. Dance Theatre's next season

By Steven Brown
The Charlotte Observer

N.C. Dance Theatre's 2010-11 season will open with Dracula, pay tribute to Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden, and end by spotlighting choreography by women.

Coming just before Halloween, "Dracula" is a full-length ballet choreographed by Mark Godden, whose "Constructing Juliet" is part of NCDT's performances next weekend.

Godden's version of the familiar horror tale is eerie and elegant, says Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, NCDT's artistic director. "It still has class." Canadian movie director Guy Maddin filmed it in 2002, and his silent movie-inspired version - titled "Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary" - was shown at the Manor Theater in 2004.

In March, the Director's Choice program will commemorate the company's 40th anniversary by bringing back a work by Salvatore Aiello, the artistic director who brought the company to Charlotte from its original home of Winston-Salem. For the same program, resident choreographer Dwight Rhoden will create a new work celebrating Bearden, whose centennial occurs in 2011. The company hopes to gain permission to use Bearden images onstage, Bonnefoux says.

The season will close with a tribute to female choreographers. Following up on recent seasons' performances of Twyla Tharp's swanky "Nine Sinatra Songs," NCDT will include Tharp's celebration of ballet athleticism, "The Golden Section."

Along the way, NCDT will introduce a few new choreographers to its audiences.

Innovative Works will include a piece by NCDT dancer David Ingram, who stars next weekend in George Balanchine's "Apollo." The female choreographers spotlighted in April include Emery Lecrone, a former member of the NCDT 2 training company who's now based in New York. And Director's Choice will include a work by Jiri Bubenicek, a young dancer and choreographer from the Czech Republic.

Bubenicek's choreography is so fluid that the movements seem as if "they don't really stop," Bonnefoux says. "It's so organic. It's so close to the music."