Contemporary ballet

Axelrod’s Contemporary Ballet Theater presents “Dancing in the Dark”


originally published: 09/10/2021

(HOLMDEL, NJ) — Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater (AXCBT) presents “Dancing in the Dark”, an immersive dance-theatre performance celebrating the “world beyond”. AXCBT invites theatergoers and Halloween fans to a spellbinding dance party, inspired by popular horror classics. Each performance will include dance theater pieces inspired by “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, “Dracula” by Bram Stoker, “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock and a new version of the ballet “Giselle”. Performances will take place at the Bell Works Theater on October 30, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and October 31, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

“I wanted to celebrate Halloween from a different perspective,” said AXCBT artistic director Gabriel Chajnik. “What is bound to this world is darkness and the fear that comes with the absence of light. 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) acting professor Jason Cohen wrote the script for the show.

Chajnik enjoys telling timeless and popular stories, especially from a unique perspective. His “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley will follow Shelley’s inspiration and creation of the iconic monster, instead of focusing on the monster itself. His “Dracula” will shed light on the novel’s insights into the relationship between religion and reason, East and West, the modern age versus the ancient world, and how love can transcend space and the weather. With video mapping, he will bring Hitchcock’s “Birds” to life, immersing audiences and performers in the urgency to stop taking nature for granted. His “Giselle” will emphasize that despite death and the darkness of the human soul, love above all else can liberate from death.

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

Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for more info

“To witness the admiration of the live performance [of AXCBT last winter] during the pandemic was both haunting and humiliating,” said NJSYO President Lakshmi Nadiminti. “Although we performed in our separate productions, the prospect of a collaboration had already settled in. Over time the powers of being came together and we began this collaborative journey of music and dance together at Bell Works. We are more than happy that our students have this opportunity.

Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater presents "Dancing in the Dark"  - an Immersive Dance and Theater Evening for Halloween

For the show, pre-professional students will play Johann Sebastian Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, arranged by Soeda. APAA Elementary students will also perform an Addams Family-inspired number at the event.

Spectators are invited to come in costume! AXCBT will be giving away prizes for the best costumes, including free tickets to “The Nutcracker Rocks.” Chajnik’s original and magical retelling of the family vacation classic. “The Nutcracker Rocks” will be AXCBT’s first performance on stage at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center since 2019.

Bell Works Theater is located at 101 Crawfords Corner Road in Holmdel, New Jersey. All tickets are $35 per person and available for purchase in line. Users can gand $20 off your “Dancing in the Dark” tickets if you buy 2 tickets for “The Nutcracker Rocks! Must call box office for promotion: 732-531-9106. Tickets for “The Nutcracker Rocks” available for purchase in line.

Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater is a program of the Axelrod Performing Arts Center with performances at Bell Works in Holmdel and the Axelrod PAC located in Deal Park, NJ. The Axelrod PAC produces a series of professional theater productions per year, including beloved musicals, concerts and student productions. A 501c3 organization, the Axelrod PAC receives major funding for its programs from the NJ State Arts Council. Learn more about the Axelrod Performing Arts Center and their upcoming performances and events at

PHOTO: (TOP) Lindsay Jorgensen, artist of the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater Company, and Aldeir Monteiro, guest artist, at the Bell Works Theatre. Photo credit: Alana Roolaart