Ballet with a Haunting Twist

Eugene gets spookier as Ballet Fantastique takes the stage

Alastair Morley Jacques is Edgar Allan Poe. Photo by Greg Burns.

As the days inch toward the spookiest holiday of the year, the “Castle on the Hill,” also known as the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House, hosts a preview by Ballet Fantastique Oct. 7 and 8. Not only will some of the ballet dancers roam throughout the night, but audience members have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a haunted house with a sneak peak at the haunting stories that will be read at The Hult Center Oct. 19 to 22. Ballet Fantastique presents Nevermore: Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, an interactive character bringing the stories to life with theatrical experiences. Poe wrote tales of horror with a psychological intensity. Some of his famous works that will be read by the dancers include The Raven, Annabel Lee, Fall of the House of Usher, Cask of Amontillado and Masque of the Red Death. “There is so much humanity in it as someone telling stories that are so supernatural and fantastical in so many ways,” says Hannah Bontrager, Ballet Fantastique’s executive director and co-choreographer and producer, “but bring human experience to us in so many unique ways that are vibrant.” Music accompanies the dark poetry with arrangements by YouTube musical sensations Peter Gundry and Lucas King, along with other musicians and instrumentalists. And the chilling choreography by international artists and mother daughter duo, Donna Marisa Bontrager and Hannah Bontrager produce “a macabre dance theater experience,” according to Ballet Fantastique’s website. Be one with the show and get lost in the ambiguity of the haunting performance.

The Shelton McMurphey Johnson House hosts Ballet Fantastique 7 pm Oct. 7 and 8 at 303 Willamette. Presale tickets $20 at and $25 at the door. The Hult Center presents Nevermore: Stories of Edgar Allan Poe 7 pm Oct. 19, 7:30 pm Oct. 20 and 21 and 2:30 pm Oct. 22. Tickets at start at $15.