Three Spooky Ballets for Halloween

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The Halloween season is quickly approaching and we typically associate this time of year with witches, ghosts, vampires, and gore. Whether it involves dressing up in costumes or watching scary movies, “spooky season” is the time to indulge in all things thrilling, horror, and supernatural. But now you can add ballet to your list of Halloween activities. Here are three of our favorite spooky ballets for Halloween. 


MUSIC BY: Franz Liszt

Left Caption: Flavia Morante and Hannah Holtsclaw as Lucy in Ballet Pensacola’s “Dracula,” 2023. By Edward A. McGrath Photography.
Right Caption: Flavia Morante as Lucy in Ballet Pensacola’s “Dracula,” 2023. By Edward A. McGrath Photography.

About the Ballet:

            Inspired by the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker, Dracula first premiered as a ballet in 1977, 100 years after the novel’s publication. Stoker’s Dracula was published at the end of the Romantic era, an artistic movement characterized by an emphasis on emotional expression and exploration of human nature. Although the tale of Dracula was reimagined for the stage during the 20th century, after the end of Romanticism, the ballet has characteristics similar to ballet productions from the Romantic era–tragedy, drama, and supernatural elements. In this haunting stage production, Count Dracula is the star of local village folklore, living in a secluded castle with women that he has captured to keep as his brides (x, x, x). 

Flavia Morante–a former instructor at Jordance Studio and a permanent member of the Jordance family–is performing in Ballet Pensacola’s production of Dracula on October 13-15, 2023. Flavia is dancing the Principal role of Lucy Westenra, one of Dracula’s brides.


MUSIC BY: Adolphe Adam 

ORIGINAL CHOREOGRAPHY BY: Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot (1841). Revived by Marius Petipa (1884).

Left : Kimberly Cowen in “Giselle,” 2008. Retrieved from  Wikimedia Commons.
Right : Carlotta Grisi in “Giselle,” 1841. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.

            Giselle was first performed in 1841 in Paris by the Ballet du Théâtre de Académie Royale de Musique (now called the Paris Opera Ballet). The original production featured Italian dancer Carlotta Grisi and French dancer Lucien Petipa as Gielle and Albrecht, respectively. Today, Giselle is one of the most famous and most commonly performed ballets in history, included in company repertoires around the world. It is also one of the most well-known examples of Romantic style ballet. Although you might not think so, Giselle is a perfect ballet for Halloween. Set in a German village, it’s a ghost story about a peasant girl who dies of a broken heart after finding out her love, Albrecht, is engaged to another. She then returns as a ghost and joins the Wilis, a sisterhood of spirits who were betrayed by their lovers in life. Driven by vengeance, they command the men to dance until they die. With its dark set design and ghostly, veiled characters, Giselle is a haunting romantic tragedy (x, x, x).


MUSIC BY: Jean-Madeleine Schneitzhoeffer (1832) and rescored by Hermann Lovenskjold (1836)

ORIGINAL CHOREOGRAPHY BY: Filippo Taglioni (1832) and revived by August Bournonville (1836)

Left : Marie Taglioni in “La Sylphide.” Retrieved from  New York Public Library Digital Collection
Right : Marie Taglioni in “La Sylphide.” Retrieved from New York Public Library Digital Collection.

            La Sylphide is a Romantic ballet first staged in 1832 by Italian ballet master Filippo Taglioni. He choreographed the ballet to showcase his daughter, Marie Taglioni, who danced en pointe for the entire production, the first ballerina to do so. In this ballet, Taglioni’s pointe work not only demonstrated her strength, but also her grace, as she floated ethereally across the stage in the principal role of “The Sylph,” an invisible forest spirit. The story follows a Scottish farmer named James, who is enchanted by the sylph and follows her into the woods, where an evil witch is waiting to cast a spell on the couple using a magic poisonous scarf. With witches, spirits, and magic, La Sylphide is a tragic love story with elements of horror, an unexpected ballet for Halloween (x, x, x).

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