Despite the hiatus, two of Atlanta Ballet’s long-time company dancers — and DeKalb county residents — will have no trouble slithering back into the skin of the notorious villain. For both John Welker, 18th season, and Jonah Hooper, 14th season, this will be their sixth time performing the work.
Welker began his Dracula career as character Jonathan Harker, but moved on to the title role in 2002 and has performed it ever since. This will be Hooper’s second time as the Count after also performing various other roles in previous versions.
“Dracula for an artist is incredibly fulfilling as it challenges you to live up to a pop culture icon that everyone’s familiar with,” said Welker of the role. “You’re required to blend an exceptionally high caliber of technique and acting to pull off the character, but the greatest reward is the audience reaction in the end.”
Hooper added, “It’s always fun to return to a role, especially one as deep and complex as Dracula. There’s a confidence and familiarity with the story the second-time around that allows you to explore different angles and perspectives to make it more your own and ultimately results in a more powerful experience overall.”
Atlanta Ballet performed the North American premiere of Dracula in 1998, which is based on Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic gothic horror story. Choreographed by Michael Pink, it mixes romance and passion with horror and pain in the lush cinematic work known for its costumes, theatrical sets and gripping original score.
It has also become one of the biggest hits in Atlanta Ballet’s 84-year history and one of the most popular renditions of Dracula in the world.
Michael Pink’s Dracula runs through Saturday at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy. in Atlanta. Hooper performs the role of Dracula Thursday at 8 p.m. and Welker performs the role Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets start as low as $20.
Information: (404) 817-8700 or visit www.atlantaballet.com.