Carolina Ballet’s Halloween Treats Tweak the Classics into an Actual Dance Macabre | Theater | Indy Week
Pin It

Carolina Ballet’s Halloween Treats Tweak the Classics into an Actual Dance Macabre 

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Photo by Chris Walt

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Raven, and The Lady in the White Veil are all tales of protagonists who stray too near the shadowlands, so they make an obvious enough collection for a Halloween run from Carolina Ballet. But among these new works, we also find an improbably thought-provoking interpretation of an October classic. Though resident choreographer Zalman Raffael's headlining Legend of Sleepy Hollow mainly sticks to the surfaces of Washington Irving's story, it still provides sly social commentary with imaginative, repurposed musical selections from Camille Saint-Saëns and Aaron Copland.

Yevgeny Shlapko's diffident Ichabod Crane is a vivid portrait of geeky awkwardness two centuries ago, as a man of learning finds himself out of his element in the rural culture of Tarrytown, New York. The townspeople's theme is the Shaker hymn "'Tis a Gift to Be Simple," and similarly pointed sections from Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals—including "The Cuckoo" and the donkeys in "Characters with Long Ears"—accompany depictions of social interplay. But the most unexpected and touching part of this work lies in Raffael's new vision of Crane as he realizes that prospective bride Katrina Van Tassel (Alyssa Pilger) has rejected him. It's set to a song known to ballet lovers the world over—a spoiler we can't reveal.

Among the haunting technical notes that grace the opening of artistic director Robert Weiss's Lady in the White Veil, Ross Kolman's lights and Jeff A.R. Jones's set design help portray the title character as a dark beauty who is literally lighter than air. As dancer Richard Krusch pursues his veiled desire (Lily Wills) across the stage, his insistent character unwisely convinces her of his sincerity, prompting a permanent change in their relationship.

In The Raven, the evening's triumph, Weiss more deeply probes the destabilizing psychology of grief. In this imaginative retelling, Nikolai Smirnov's black bird doesn't travel the night's Plutonian shore alone. When he invades the one-room dwelling of a scholar (Sokvannara Sar), the raven brings with him a spectral but all too real Lenore.

Margaret Severin-Hansen's performance suggests Rossini's "Beata Beatrix": a woman somehow alive in death. The memory and presence of the scholar's love should comfort him. But, as she is manipulated in a ghastly tug of war, Lenore's sylphlike presence only underscores his loss, amplifying his torment in an unlikely dance of death for three.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Theater



Twitter Activity

Comments

This looks wonderful! I cant wait until it goes on the road so we can see it in California!

by Michelle Nogales on Pioneering African-American Sci-Fi Author Octavia Butler’s Empathy and Foresight Take the Stage in Parable of the Sower (Theater)

Spelling error for one of the owners of RRE: it's Rebekah Carmichael, not Rachel Carmichael. Also, the shows run between …

by J Robert Raines on Raleigh Room Escapes Slips Through the Keyhole Between Room-Escape Games and Immersive Theater (Theater)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

This looks wonderful! I cant wait until it goes on the road so we can see it in California!

by Michelle Nogales on Pioneering African-American Sci-Fi Author Octavia Butler’s Empathy and Foresight Take the Stage in Parable of the Sower (Theater)

Spelling error for one of the owners of RRE: it's Rebekah Carmichael, not Rachel Carmichael. Also, the shows run between …

by J Robert Raines on Raleigh Room Escapes Slips Through the Keyhole Between Room-Escape Games and Immersive Theater (Theater)

your 20 sept review of playmakers current offering missed the boat, big time. the play portrayed all the characters as …

by Pointyhead on The Cake Edits Reality to Ignore the Everyday Consequences of Bible Belt Homophobia (Theater)

Oh, I'd be amused even without the in-jokes. These folks are having a great time, and the setting is transportive. …

by needsomeokra on Wants Upon a Time Is a Commedia Dell'arte Interrogation of What Happily Ever After Really Means (Theater)

The photo credit is incorrect. The photo was taken and edited by Areon Mobasher for Burning Coal Theatre Company. Please …

by Areon Mobasher on The Greeks Streamlines Sophocles’s Theban Trilogy Into Three Nimble, Strikingly Modern One-Acts (Theater)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation