Dracula, Mark Bruce Company at Salisbury and touring

Jonathan Goddard as Dracula, Mark Bruce Company 2013 photo by Colin Hawkins 1MARK Bruce, the dancer and choreographer who has developed much of his work in Somerset, was born in London born 45 years ago, and trained at the Rambert.

He founded his company in 1991 and since then has been astounding, delighting and disturbing audiences around the country and beyond.

His latest work, Dracula, started life at Frome’s Merlin and Bristol’s Tobacco Factory last year, and after a sell-out first UK tour, is nearing the end of the second, 2014, tour of 15 UK venues.

This astonishingly powerful retelling of the Bram Stoker classic, danced by a ten-strong company led by Jonathan Goddard in the title role, is a mesmerising assault on the senses, branding images onto the brain as the menacing stage is filled with bats, virgins, vampires, worthy scientists and the hounds of hell.

Dracula in danced in front of a structure resembling Guiseppe Lund’s Queen Mother Gates at Hyde Park, through which the vampires have free access in spite of garlic and crucifixes.

The selection of music – from Beethoven and Bach through Ligeti to music hall stars Albert Whelan and Florrie Forde, and even original music composed by the choreographer – keeps the audience on its toes.

dance Dracula-farrowscreativeThe work mixes dance styles, with classical ballet whirling into wild Ruritanian gypsy czardas, contemporary dance into stylised evocations of street dance and animal movement.

The whole effect is sometimes overwhelming, as the story unfolds and real terror strikes both the dancers and the audience.

It is an unmissable piece of theatre, as well as an exciting example of just how creative our arts can be, in a time when arts is rolled up with sport and is always the very poor relation in the eyes of local and national government.

See Dracula at Poole Lighthouse on Tuesday 18th November, before it heads for Ipswich, London and Brighton in the next few weeks.


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