Vampire-themed Valentine making world premiere

First State Ballet Theatre to perform ‘Irene’ at Grand Opera House

The cast of “Irene” will include dancers Justin Estelle (from left, bottom row) and Emily Shenaut; and Ethan Raysor (top, from left), Molly Rooney, Aubrey Clemens and Jake Nowicki.

The cast of “Irene” will include dancers Justin Estelle (from left, bottom row) and Emily Shenaut; and Ethan Raysor (top, from left), Molly Rooney, Aubrey Clemens and Jake Nowicki.

Here’s a cultural opportunity patrons can sink their teeth into: the world premiere of “Irene,” a vampire-themed Valentine offered by the First State Ballet Theatre (FSBT) in Wilmington.

The company says it is pulling out all the stops for the single-performance premiere, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, on the main stage of Wilmington’s Grand Opera House.

Irene is the creation of Wilmington-based guitarist, teacher and composer Shaun Dougherty, who composed the music and libretto for the full-length work. FSBT dancer and choreographer Alex Buckner – who choreographed the company’s Delaware premiere of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and whose work was featured at the 2011 Delaware Arts Summit – will set the piece on FSBT’s 22-person professional company, a company news release said.

“When Shaun proposed this collaboration, we saw immediately that its edgy, sophisticated, urban vibe could add a younger demographic – teens through 30-somethings – to our typical audience,” said Robert Grenfell, FSBT’s president and executive director. “Since a key component of our mission is to educate the Delaware dance audience of the future, we jumped at the chance to work with Shaun. And the concepts we’ve developed in our production meetings have been fantastic.”

“To further broaden our audience, we’ve invited some of Wilmington’s best known culturati to take walk-on roles in the ballet’s ballroom scene,” Grenfell added.

An all-Delaware production, ”Irene” will feature a live pit band, including a 12-person string section, a percussion section, pianist, Dougherty on guitar, and a conductor. The music is vibrant and rock-inspired, the staging will be dark and mysterious, and the choreography will feature Buckner’s blend of classical and contemporary technique infused with humor and pathos, the release said.

The “Irene” production team encourages everyone to bring their Valentine to the Grand for an evening of drama, suspense and passion. Tickets are available at 1-800-37-GRAND or online atwww.ticketsatthegrand.org.

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Tags: First State Ballet Theatre (FSBT), Grand Opera House, irene, Robert Grenfell, Shaun Dougherty

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