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Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater Presents DANCING IN THE DARK


Monmouth County's ballet company brings an immersive evening of dance and theater, inspired by iconic horror classics.

Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater Presents DANCING IN THE DARK

Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater presents "Dancing in the Dark" this October, an immersive dance theater performance celebrating the "world beyond." AXCBT invites theater enthusiasts and Halloween-lovers alike to a bewitching evening of dance, inspired by popular horror classics.

Each performance will include dance theater works inspired by Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," Bram Stoker's "Dracula," Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds," and a fresh take on the ballet "Giselle." The performances will take place at the Theater at Bell Works on October 30, 2021 at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. and October 31, 2021 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

"I wanted to celebrate Halloween from a different perspective," said AXCBT Artistic Director Gabriel Chajnik. "What is related to this world is darkness, and the fear that comes with the absence of light. The nighttime is when our monsters come out to play and all our fears come to light."

Directed by Chajnik, "Dancing in the Dark" will be narrated by special guest actor William King. Chajnik and Axelrod Performing Arts Academy (APAA) Theater Faculty Jason Cohen have written the script for the performance.

Chajnik loves to tell timeless, popular stories-especially from a unique perspective. His Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" will follow Shelley's inspiration and creation of the iconic monster, instead of focusing of the monster itself. His "Dracula" will highlight the novel's illumination of relationships between religion and reason, the East and the West, the modern age versus the old world and how love can transcend space and time. With video mapping, he will bring Hitchcock's "The Birds" to life, immersing the audience and performers in the urgency to stop taking nature for granted. His "Giselle" will emphasize that despite the death and darkness of the human soul, love above all else can free one from death.

Following the professional production will be a performance by APAA students, featuring live music by New Jersey State Youth Orchestra (NJSYO), conducted by Leo Soeda.

"Witnessing the awe of live performance [of AXCBT last winter] during the pandemic was both haunting and humbling," said President of NJSYO Lakshmi Nadiminti. "Although we performed in our separate productions, the prospect of collaboration had already set in. Over time, the powers to be came together and we started this collaborative journey of music and dance together at Bell Works. We are beyond thrilled for our students to have this opportunity."

For the performance, the pre-professional students will perform to Johann Sebastian Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor, arranged by Soeda. Primary students of APAA will also perform an Addams Family-inspired number at the event.

Audience members are encouraged to come in costume! AXCBT will offer prizes to the best costumes, including free tickets to "The Nutcracker Rocks." Chajnik's original, magical retelling of the family holiday classic. "The Nutcracker Rocks" will be AXCBT's first performance back on the Axelrod Performing Arts Center's stage since 2019.

Learn more at

Tickets are on sale for "The Nutcracker Rocks" here:

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