Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2012, 5:47 pm

Ballet QC unfurls a spooky, sensual 'Dracula'

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By Jonathan Turner, jturner@qconline.com

MOLINE -- In its 16th season opener, Ballet Quad Cities performs for the first time at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 1800 7th Ave. A heavenly, sexy, melodramatic production it is -- the timely and timeless gothic tale of love, lust, horror and death, "Dracula."

Cue the ear-splitting, spooky organ music.

The soaring, sacred auditorium space is ideally suited for the professional company's reprise of this familiar story, again with the dashing, debonair, dark-haired Domingo Rubio in the slithering, seductive title role. Before we see one dance step, the scary recorded music starts, and we're plunged into the manic, chaotic world of an English asylum.

As fog shrouds the stage, a crowd of gray-clad patients sharply flail about, echoing the stabbing menace of the soundtrack. Mr. Rubio appropriately makes a grand entrance from the audience as he gently flaps the edges of his long black cape. Among many stark, atmospheric lighting effects in the hour-long ballet, we see Dracula lit from a footlight, casting a dancing silhouette against the back curtain.

Mr. Rubio has a commanding, flowing presence -- especially when he stylishly twirls his cape. Even without it, he creates alluring scenes of sensuality and beauty with Dracula's brides (Lauren Derrig, Kelsee Green and Margaret Huling) and his primary partners, Lucy (Jill Schwartz) and Mina (Emily Kate Long).

Not only are the dancers gorgeous, graceful and painstakingly precise, the settings and backdrops also are spectacular -- including Dracula's castle and a forest. Both Ms. Schwartz and Ms. Long give emotional, heart-wrenching performances -- amazingly, seeming to be totally uninhibited, throwing their bodies every which way, yet maintaining total control of every perfectly choreographed and executed movement. They are hypnotic and ethereal.

Jacob Lyon and Calvin Rowe particularly are impressive as Van Helsing and Jack Seward, respectively, and Mr. Lyon has a climactic fight scene with Mr. Rubio toward the end. Sure to get you in the mood for Halloween, this "Dracula" is bloody good -- haunting, dreamlike and sensitively rendered.

Performances are at 7:30 tonight and Saturday. Tickets are $22 for adults and $12 for those 18 and younger. After the Saturday ballet, at about 9:30 p.m., audience members can join Mr. Rubio and BQC dancers at The Landing, 1601 River Drive, Moline, for a post-show party.

WQPT-TV will broadcast "Dracula" at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 and 4 p.m. Oct. 28.

For more information, call (309) 786-3779 or visit balletquadcities.com.