From the depths of the mountains in Transylvania, the crowded, cobbled streets of London and now to downtown San Antonio, the gaunt Count Dracula is searching for his next victim. This weekend, Ballet San Antonio’s Choreographer-in-Residence Gabriel Zertuche sets his masterful choreography in the haunting world of “Dracula” as the premiere production of the 2011-2012 season.

Ballet San Antonio’s performance of “Dracula” is based on the classic horror novel by Bram Stoker in which Jonathan Harker attempts to save his beloved fiance Mina from Count Dracula.

Opening in the depths of Transylvania, Jonathan Harker, a young English lawyer is heading for Count Dracula’s castle to finalize a transfer of real estate in England. This seemingly ordinary situation leads to Jonathan’s shocking discovery of Dracula’s bloodthirsty appetite. Fearful for his own life, Jonathan attempts to murder Dracula, who then flees to England leaving Jonathan trapped in the castle.

The story then shifts to England where Harker’s fiance, Mina Murray is visiting her friend, Lucy Westenra. Late one night, Murray discovers that Westenra has been sleepwalking and sets out looking for her. In her search, she finds Westenra on a bench near a graveyard overlooking the town with a black shape hovering above her head.

In Ballet San Antonio’s “Dracula,” the bloodthirsty villain Count Dracula will be performed by principal dancer Ian Morris.

Morris began his ballet training under the direction of Phyllis Latin. Later, he joined the Phyllis Latin Dance Company with whom he performed in Moscow, Russia. Since then, Morris has jumped between various ballet companies including the Joffrey Ensemble Dancers and Montgomery Ballet. This upcoming performance will mark his second season with Ballet San Antonio.

The lovely Mina Murray will be performed by principal dancer Sarah Aujon. Aujon, a San Antonio native, studied at the Houston Ballet Academy before continuing at the University of Oklahoma.

 She has performed soloist and principal roles in various countries. Aujon has been a principal dancer with Ballet San Antonio the longest of the three; this being her fourth season.

Principal dancer Carlos Hopuy performs as Jonathan Harker, Mina’s valiant defender. Hopuy was born in Havana, Cuba where he attended Escuela Nacional de Arte. Hopuy has since performed internationally in England, Japan, Nicaragua and now, the United States. His performance in “Dracula” will mark his third season with Ballet San Antonio.

Ballet San Antonio’s mission, featured on the organizations website is “to share the splendor of dance through diverse artistic performances and outreach programs that reflect, promote and enrich the cultural heritage of our South Texas community.”

The company dancers represent six countries promoting diverse styles. Ballet San Antonio strives to feature the work of local and national choreographers.

The cast of this weekend’s upcoming performance of “Dracula” at the Lila Cockrell Theatre proves to promote their mission of enriching San Antonio’s culture through diversity.

The Lila Cockrell Theatre has served as a site for entertainment in San Antonio since it opened for HemisFair Park in 1968. After years of performances, the theatre had a $26 million renovation and reopened at the end of 2010. The newly remodeled theatre seats over 2,300 guests and is located on the east bank of the River Walk at the Convention Center Complex.

“Dracula” will be showing Friday, Oct. 14 and Saturday, Oct. 15 at the Lila Cockrell Theatre with opening curtains at 8 p.m. Prices range from $15-$60, with a $2 discount for military, seniors and groups of 10 or more.

The McNay Museum is offering a 10 percent discount on tickets. Order online at Ticketmaster  using the coupon code “MCNAY01” to receive the discount. Tickets may also be ordered at sales@balletsanantonio.org and by calling the Ballet San Antonio studios at 210-404-9641.

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