Abbi Johnson Captivates in Ajkun Ballet Theatre's Dracula
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Abbi Johnson Captivates in Ajkun Ballet Theatre's Dracula

London-born ballerina Abbi Johnson will again appear as a soloist in Dracula during Ajkun Ballet Theatre’s Fall season in October.

Abbi, 21, is the newest company artist at Ajkun, based in New York City. She became a full member a few months ago after a year-long apprenticeship. Now, she is performing alongside the company’s seasoned professionals in Ajkun’s unique interpretation of the timeless story of Dracula.

Seeing her step into this contemporary ballet’s choreography was a joy. Abbi’s combination of grace and strength provided a wonderful contrast to the heart-wrenching angst of Prince Vlad Dracul III’s epic tale.

A New Challenge for Ajkun Ballet’s Newest Ballerina
Abbi Johnson started training in ballet at the age of four at the Central School of Ballet and Highgate Ballet School. She honed her technique as a youngster, auditioning for and winning her place in the UK’s Cecchetti Scholars program. She also attended several prestigious summer programs, including the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and the American Ballet Theatre in New York.

Abbi won numerous awards in national choreographic competitions and danced around the UK with London Children’s Ballet and the National Youth Ballet. At just sixteen years old, she was awarded a scholarship to the renowned Joffrey Ballet School in New York and moved to Manhattan.

After four years of grueling technical training, Abbi graduated from the Joffrey School in May 2022. She did this despite the additional burdens of training during the Covid pandemic. She was one of her few peers to receive a professional company offer upon graduation.

Accepted as a junior apprentice at Ajkun Ballet Theatre, Abbi wasted no time making the most of the opportunities to dance on stage.

She has performed in prominent roles in classical repertoire ballet productions, including Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, and Chiara Ajkun’s original choreography of the contemporary ballet Dracula.

As of the Summer 2023 season, Abbi has been appointed a company artist with Ajkun, affording her a soloist role in the company’s August performances of The Sleeping Beauty and their Fall performances of Dracula.

A Unique Retelling of a Classic Story
The Ajkun Ballet Theatre is a highly respected premiere ballet company based in Manhattan. It stages classical and contemporary ballet productions throughout New York State, especially in Manhattan. The company’s artistic director and choreographer is Chiara Ajkun, who is also the creator of the original ballet Dracula.

Many interpretations of both Dracula’s historical life and the vampire fiction spun by Bram Stoker have come to the stage before. This one stands out as a totally original take. Drawing on both fact and fiction to flesh out its story, Chiara Ajkun’s ballet is an epic tale of passion, heroism, betrayal, and war.

Dracula took place in fifteenth-century Wallachia when the Balkans were forced to fight off an invasion by the Ottoman Empire. It covers the legendary story of Prince Vlad Dracul III of the Order of the Dragon, who stood up against the Ottomans to protect his homeland.

The performance balances action and drama well too. It features Dracula’s explosive fights with Mehmet, The Conqueror, during his human life. It contrasts this with such things as Dracula’s intense love of Mina during his time as a vampire. The combination evokes a perfect mix of pathos, horror, and excitement.

Where to find more information

Find more details on Abbi and her work on Instagram
Find tickets for Dracula on the Ajkun Ballet Theatre’s website
About the Author: Julianna Griffith covers the performing arts in New York City and the greater New York metropolitan area.

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