Festival Ballet Albuquerque presents

Dracula: A Love Story

choreographed by Patricia Dickinson Wells

FRI. - SAT., OCTOBER 19-20
7:00 PM
2:00 PM
Albuquerque, NM

Tickets:  $13-$37
Tickets may be purchased at:
Dance Theatre Southwest (296-9465)
4200 Wyoming NE
or at the NHCC box office (724-4771)

Performances made possible in part by New Mexico Arts,
a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs,
and the National Endowment for the Arts

The Story    Who Was the Real Dracula?    Scenes
Festival Ballet Albuquerque thanks our Dracula sponsors for 2012:
Returning to the Albuquerque stage just in time for Halloween, Festival Ballet Albuquerque and Patricia Dickinson Wells bring Bram Stoker's macabre novel DRACULA to life in a fully realized dance rendition of Dracula, A Love Story.   This ballet was a smash hit in its New Mexico premiere in 1999, and Dickinson's newly realized production with Festival Ballet ABQ promises to capture the imaginations of young and old alike.

A sophisticated original ballet set in an elegant, dark, brutal portrayal of Stoker's timeless tale of love, blood-lust, loss and redemption, this production packs both poignant tragedy and plenty of scares.  This year the lead role of Dracula is danced by Albuquerque native Dominic Guerra. With powerful choreography, eerie effects, and an unsurpassed love story spanning centuries,  Dracula, A Love Story is not to be missed!

Festival Ballet ABQ is also known for its critically acclaimed Firebird Ballet, The Nutcracker Ballet in the Land of Enchantment and Billy the Kid.   Dracula, A Love Story, features choreography by Ms. Dickinson Wells, sets by John Malolepsy, lighting by Eric Kennedy, lavish costumes and actual flying trickery provided by Flying by Foy from Las Vegas.   The company takes the stage of the National Hispanic Cultural Center Oct. 19-21 for 3 breathtaking performances.   See it if you dare!

The Story
Dracula is a story of great love, passion, conviction, redemption, salvation - a horrific Romeo and Juliet - far more complex than simple neck-biting and bloodletting.


Prince Vladimir bids farewell to his Princess as he leaves to campaign against the Turks.  When he is gone, his enemies send an arrow through the castle window, bearing a note announcing Vladimir's death in battle.  The Princess believes the message and, despairing, throws herself out of the window to die in the waters below.  Vladimir returns triumphant from battle, only to find the body of his Princess lying on an altar, watched over by her loyal handmaiden.  Upon being told she will not be given last rites because of her suicide, Vladimir goes mad.  The valiant defender of Christianity turns against his faith, attacking priest, monks, and the holiest of symbols, the cross itself. 

Centuries later, in 1897, young Jonathan Harker, a solicitor from London, is preparing to travel to Transylvania to replace his colleague, Renfield, who for unknown reasons has gone mad during his visit to Count Dracula's castle.  Jonathan is accompanied to the train station by his lovely bride, Mina, and her best friend, Lucy Westenra.  Also in attendance are Arthur Holmwood Godalming and Quincey Morris, two of Lucy's suitors, who have come to help Dr. Seward (another suitor) bring Renfield to his sanitorium to cure him.  Seward has called in his mentor, Dr. Van Helsing, to help with Renfield.  Renfield tries, in his crazed daze, to tell Mina what he saw in Transylvania.  Mina is kind, and tries very hard to understand.

In Transylvania, Harker meets the Count and notices his odd pallor and cold touch.  While Harker does paperwork for Dracula's purchase of an estate in England, Dracula becomes obsessed with Harker's photograph of Mina, who exactly resembles his lost 15th century princess, the woman for whom he defied the Church and became Undead.  Casting a spell on Harker, Dracula disappears.  Harker prepares to retire but is confronted by three beautiful, otherworldly women.  They draw him into an encounter of increasing sensuality, only to be stopped by Dracula, who begins to manipulate him into the most horrific of nightmares.  Harker, dazed after being attacked by Dracula, discovers he is a prisoner in the gloomy castle.

Dracula travels to England and takes up residence in his new abode.  It is time for him to choose a new bride, and he hunts by day, able to go about but unable to wield the extreme powers of the night.  He sees Lucy and Mina, out for an afternoon stroll which is interrupted by the funeral procession of a townsperson.  Dracula disappears, knowing who his next victim will be and satisfied in the fact that he has found his former princess, now reincarnated as Mina. 

At night, in the cemetery, Dracula ascends to his full powers, summoning all the undead creatures of the underworld; the Queen and the King lead the vampire gargoyles, children of the night, and bats as all come to his beckoning call in a macabre celebration of his arrival.  Dracula then draws Lucy to him, causing her to sleepwalk to the cemetery, where he gives her the first of the three bites it will take to make her a vampire.  He leaves her in the cemetery, where she is found by her loyal friend Mina, who has awakened to find Lucy missing and come searching for her in the middle of the night.


Lucy hosts a grand ball to announce her betrothal to Mr. Holmwood.  The dashing Count Dracula is an invited guest.  She introduces him to Mina and immediately Mina is drawn to him, almost as if a spell is cast on her.  He seems very familiar to her.  Meanwhile, Dr. Van Helsing asks Lucy to dance and notices a mark on her neck.  He tells Dr. Seward and Mina his suscpicions.  Lucy plays a game with the guests and mixes up partners for the waltz.  Mina and Count Dracula end up dancing together.  Dracula disappears, knowing he has touched Mina's heart as well as her person.  Lucy bids farewell to her guests, and sits alone savoring her memories of the ball.  Dracula comes out of hiding and bites her a second time.

In Dr. Seward's sanitorium, Renfield becomes more and more agitated and has taken to catching spiders and bugs.  Lucy is brought to the sanitorium for a blood transfusion, and Mina comes with her, living in small quarters there and helping Dr. Seward with his research while she awaits her husband's return from Transylvania.  Dracula comes to the sanitorium to torment Renfield and to take blood from Lucy a third time, thus making her a vampire.  Mina is drawn to Renfield's cell by the noise but is taken away by Dr. Seward, who fears for her safety. 

Mina goes to the train station to meet Jonathan, who is finally returning from Transylvania.  All go to the cemetery for Lucy's funeral.  Everyone but Van Helsing believes Lucy is dead.  That night, Dracula opens his crypt and brings Lucy into the underworld of the undead to initiate her as his newest bride.  Van Helsing and his followers are suspicious, and hunt Lucy down in her crypt to destroy her.  Dracula, tormented by Lucy's death, begins to feel remorseful and is haunted by his past as a vampire.  In a dream state, he is visited by Mina, Lucy, and his past brides, who reproach him for the harm he has done them. 

Mina feels a need to choose between her world and Dracula's.  The pull is too great-she decides to join the undead.  She seeks out Dracula and they exchange their blood, but just as she is close to the threshold, he stops.  He does not wish Mina to live as he has.  He loves her too much.  As Van Helsing and the townspeople catch Dracula and Mina near the crypt, the final decision is theirs.  Go together, or end the madness forever?
Who Was the Real Dracula?
"...a vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light, and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the sky."

        —Bram Stoker, Dracula

It is highly unlikely that any more than a few historians would be paying the slightest bit of attention to Vlad Dracula today, were it not for Bram Stoker's novel.  There has been much speculation about the exact nature of the connection between Vlad and Stoker's Count Dracula. Most assume that Stoker, inspired by accounts he had read or heard about the fifteenth-century Wallachian ruler, made a conscious decision to base the character of Count Dracula on the historical personage, Vlad Tepes, but this assumption is highly speculative.  All we know for certain is that Stoker borrowed the name "Dracula" and a few scraps of information about Wallachian history from William Wilkinson's An Account of Wallachia and Moldavia (1820). 

Vlad Tepes was born in November or December 1431, in Sighisoara, Romania. His father, Vlad Dracul, at that time military governor of Transylvania, had been inducted into the Order of the Dragon, a semimilitary society created to protect the interests of Catholicism and to crusade against the Turks.  The Order's official dress—a black cape over a red garment—is credited as a source of inspiration for Stoker's evil character.  "Dracul," in Romanian language, means "Dragon"; the boyars of Romania decided to call Vlad "Dracul" because of his membership in the Order of the Dragon.  "Dracula," a diminutive which means "the son of Dracul," was a surname to be used ultimately by Vlad Tepes.  Vlad himself used "Dracula" (or variations thereof) in a number of documents bearing his signature, and several of the printed sources of information about Vlad, published in the late fifteenth century, refer to him as "Dracula" or one of its derivatives.  The majority of Romanians, however, still refer to Vlad as "Tepes" ("The Impaler"), the name first bestowed on Vlad by Turkish chroniclers. 

In the winter of 1436-1437, Dracul became prince of Wallachia. Vlad Tepes lived six years at the princely court.  In 1442, for political reasons, Vlad and his younger brother were taken hostage by the Sultan Murad II. This Turkish captivity surely played an important role in Dracula's upbringing; it must be at this period that he adopted a very pessimistic view of life. The Turks set him free after informing him of his father's assassination in 1447. He also learned about his older brother's death:  he had been tortured and buried alive.

At 17 years old, Vlad Tepes, supported by a force of Turkish cavalry, made his first major move toward seizing the Wallachian throne. Vladislav II defeated him two months later. In July of 1456, Vlad Tepes had the satisfaction of killing his mortal enemy and his father's assassin, and began his longest reign—6 years—during which he committed many cruelties, and hence established his controversial reputation.  His first major act of revenge was aimed at the boyars of Tirgoviste for the killing of his father and his brother Mircea. On Easter Sunday of what is believed to be 1459, he arrested all the boyar families who had participated, impaled the older ones on stakes, and forced the others to march fifty miles from the capital to the town of Poenari. Those who survived the march were ordered to build a fortress overlooking the Arges river. What is left today of the building is identified as Castle Dracula.

In 1462, Vlad Tepes launched a very successful campaign against the Turks. To punish him, the Sultan invaded Wallachia with an army three times larger than Dracula's.  Vlad, forced to retreat, burned his own villages and poisoned the wells along the way, so that the Turkish army would find nothing to eat or drink.  Moreover, when the Sultan, exhausted, finally reached the capital city, he was confronted by a most gruesome sight: thousands of stakes held the remaining carcasses of some 20,000 Turkish captives, a horror scene which was ultimately nicknamed the "Forest of the Impaled." This terror tactic deliberately staged by Dracula was definitely successful; the Sultan, tired and hungry, gave up and left the next phase of the battle to Vlad's younger brother Radu, the Turkish favorite for the Wallachian throne. At the head of a Turkish army and joined by Vlad's detractors, Radu pursued his brother to Poenari castle on the Arges river.  According to the legend, this is when Dracula's wife, in order to escape Turkish capture, committed suicide by hurling herself from the upper battlements, her body falling down the precipice into the river below. Vlad managed to escape the siege of his fortress by using a secret passage into the mountain.  It was not until 1475 that he was again recognized as the prince of Wallachia.  He was assassinated toward the end of December 1476.

(sources:  "Dracula: The History of Myth and the Myth of History" by Elizabeth Miller, "Vlad Dracula: An Intriguing Figure in the Fifteenth Century" by Benjamin H. Leblanc)


I:  Castle Dracula, 15th Century
     Prince Vladimir, Princess, Handmaiden, Priest

II:  Altar at the Church
Priest, Monks, Princess, Handmaiden, Vladimir

III:  London Train Station: 1897
      Van Helsing, Morris, Godalming, Lucy,  Mina, Harker, Dr. Seward, Renfield

IV:  Castle Dracula, 1897
      Count Dracula, Harker, Brides of Dracula

V:  English Cemetery

      a) By Day
      Lucy, Mina, Dracula, Townspeople

      b) Awakening
Dracula, Queen of the Underworld, King of the Underworld, Gargoyles, Children of the Night, Bats



I:  Lucy's Betrothal Ball

    a) Celebration
    Dracula, Lucy, Mina, Van Helsing, Morris, Godalming, Seward, Priest, Townspeople

    b) Dracula Returns
Dracula, Lucy

II:  Dr. Seward's Sanitorium
     Renfield, Lucy, Van Helsing, Seward, Godalming, Morris, Mina

III:  London Train Station: 1898
Mina, Harker, with Townspeople

IV:  Cemetery 

       a) Lucy's Funeral
Van Helsing, Seward, Godalming, Morris, Mina, Harker, Priest, Townspeople

       b) The Crypt
Dracula, Lucy, Gargoyles, Brides of Dracula

       c) Lucy's Staking
       Lucy, Van Helsing, Godalming, Morris, Seward

       d) Dracula in Torment
Dracula, Mina, Lucy, Brides of Dracula

       e) Mina's Decision

       f) Pas de Deux
       Mina, Dracula

       g) Final Death
Mina, Dracula, Van Helsing, Harker, Godalming, Morris, Seward, Priest, Townspeople