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Dayton Ballet to debut world premiere of 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'

 Dayton Ballet presents 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow', Oct. 28—30, 2022, at the Victoria Theatre.
Dayton Ballet presents 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow', Oct. 28—30, 2022, at the Victoria Theatre.

Just in time for the spookiest day of the year, the Dayton Ballet is presenting the world premiere of a new take on a classic American tale. The company's production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow includes original choreography set to a brand new score.

The two-act ballet includes the entire professional company, the pre-professional Dayton Ballet II Company, and the ballet's dance school. Karen Russo Burke is Dayton Ballet's artistic director.

"What makes it really special is that I have collaborated with composer Austin Jaquith, who composed an original score to my libretto," she says.

Burke says the ballet retains the original Washington Irving characters but presents a different take on the infamous Headless Horseman.

"Were adding a prequel to how the Headless Horseman became the Headless Horseman. It's just kind of a way to fill out the story, but [still keep] the story whole."

The ballet debuts in Dayton's historic Victoria Theatre. Burke says the venue enhances the feel of the performance.

"I love having a story ballet at the Victoria Theatre. It is such a great ambiance for dance; you really get to feel the energy of the dancers, and everyone just has a good seat in the house."

The score composed by Jaquith will be performed live by the Dayton Philharmonic under the direction of Maestro Neal Gittleman. Burke calls having original music composed for the company "really special" for the musicians and dancers.

"I think that those elements really kind of make it an extra special performance. It's not a ballet that any other company would be able to do because it's original to us," says Burke.

She's hopeful people will have fun, enjoy the Halloween aesthetic and connect with the story, not just expect to see a traditional performance.

Ballet, she points out, isn't just the Nutcracker or Swan Lake. "It can be a lot of different things, and they can enjoy it just as much as seeing a theater piece, or an orchestra piece. It's just a different way of telling the story."

Performances are Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2:30 p.m. Audiences are encouraged to attend wearing costumes.

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Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Most recently, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She served on the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors from 2007 - 2009.