Twin Cities Ballet tells Dracula story on stage at the Ames Center

Twin Cities Ballet artistic director Denise Vogt's original ballet, “Dracula,” performed to music by Minnesota composer Simon Sperl.
Courtesy of Twin Cities Ballet

When you think of ballet, you probably think of sparkling tutus and airy music. But a Minnesota company, Twin Cities Ballet, is seeing ballet in a different light right now.

Wednesday and Thursday nights, they’re performing a ballet about Dracula at the Ames Center in Burnsville, Minn.

“Dracula” is a 19th-century gothic horror novel, which has been adapted into an original story by Denise Vogt. She’s the artistic director of Twin Cities Ballet.

She told Cathy Wurzer on Minnesota Now about the challenges of telling a story through dance with no dialogue. Vogt says she envisioned it like a chapter book, telling a story and “taking you on a journey.”

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Minnesota composer Simon Sperl has written an original musical score for it. Vogt says there are various musical themes throughout the ballet — and every main character has a theme. Count Dracula’s music even has an undertone of humor, she said, as if he “toys with people.”

Twin Cities Ballet has livestreamed during the pandemic, but the Nutcracker in December 2019 was the last performance with a full, live audience, Vogt says. The live performances of Dracula are Wednesday and Thursday at the Ames Center in Burnsville. Masks are required for the audience.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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Correction: (Nov. 5, 2021): A previous version of this story had an incorrect spelling for Simon Sperl’s name. The story has been updated.