Put some masterminds together and you're bound to ignite sparks of creative genius. Ochre House's Matthew Posey and flamenco artist Delilah Muse both have been awardees in the Observer's annual Masterminds round-up. Dancer Danielle Georgiou was a runner-up this year. You can experience the trio's latest artistic collaboration this week at El Conde Dracula, a four-night-only drama with dance based on Bram Stoker's vampire story.
Inspired by Muse's suggestion of a flamenco-dancing Dracula, Posey wrote and directed the one-hour show, performed in Spanish and English, as the showcase piece for the Dallas Flamenco Festival. "I had never read Bram Stoker's novel," says Posey. "I didn't realize what a wonderful structure it has. It's all told through travel diaries of the witnesses and what they report. I thought it would be a wonderful platform for flamenco. The only problem is that we're trying to cram a 325-page novel into a one-hour show with eight dances."
Actors Christian Taylor and Mitchell Parrack play Renfield and Van Helsing, who travel with Mina, played by dancer Georgiou, to a small Spanish abbey to meet Drac's first wife, Lilith (Muse). When Dracula, played by Spanish flamenco artist Antonio Arrebola, arrives, the dancing begins, playing out old rivalries, new loves and acts of revenge.
Flamenco, the traditional dance of the Gypsies, uses improvised rhythms, strong heel-stomping footwork and hand-claps to punctuate the beats. Muse teaches flamenco, often with guest artist Arrebola, at her northwest Dallas studio. The two starred together in last year's Ochre House Flamenco Fest show, Perro y Sangre, which told a violent Ernest Hemingway tale through the dances. It was a knockout.
"When you compare it to flamenco, natural acting pales. Flamenco is pure passion and expression," says Posey. "And I have to say, Antonio does an incredible job of interpreting and making Dracula come alive. Danielle Georgiou has brought in some contemporary dance to complement and enhance the flamenco. It's just mind-blowing."
Guitarist Ricardo Diaz collaborated with violinist Anjelo Cruz Alonte to create original music for El Conde Dracula.
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"This whole show really does drive my boat," says Posey. "It's something so unique, with everyone putting their best foot forward."
Not to mention their heels.
El Conde Dracula plays at 8:15 Tuesday through Friday, October 22-25, at the Ochre House , 825 Exposition Avenue (by Fair Park). Tickets are $25 cash or check at the door or online. Reservations by phone at 214-826-6273.