Ballet Quad Cities: The Art Is In The Details

Dance is the rhythmic and expressive movement of the human body. It is beautifully performed and staged 30 times during the year by the 22-year old Ballet Quad Cities. This month I was excited  and honored to attend Ballet Quad Cities, Dracula, a classic tale “of love, lust and horror.”  The return of this dramatic piece was staged in a new venue at the Spotlight Theatre and Event Center in downtown Moline, Illinois. Formerly the Scottish Rite Cathedral, the theatre is a worthy venue for professional dance.

The Spotlight Theatre in Downtown Moline, Illinois

When I entered the theatre, I was impressed by the strength of the historic building. The former Scottish Rite Cathedral is a perfect venue for the professional production of Ballet Quad Cities, Dracula.

I was graciously greeted by Joedy Cook, CEO and Founder of Ballet Quad Cities. Her enthusiasm and love of dance has made a huge impact on the arts in the Quad Cities as well as giving access to professional dance in the area. Not only has she received numerous awards and honors for her dedication to the organization, but she oversees the costume and set designs for each ballet. Artistic Director Courtney Lyon and Artistic Associate Emily Kate Long, both recognized professional dancers, are to be commended for their dedication to Ballet Quad Cities and for their outreach efforts.

The stage is equipped with hand-painted fabric sets that flow down from the ceiling and are enhanced with various dramatic lighting effects. The paintings on the set curtains are beautifully done with depth and detail. Scenery production services are important to me as an artist so my kudos to Adele Forest for costume construction, Gary Holmquist for lighting, Paul Sanerud for backdrops, and Laren Shaw Hellige for scenery.

The ballet artists were Marie Buser, Lauren Carmen, Aubrey Clayton, Ashley Coffin, Andrew Erickson, Sage Feldges, Aaron J. Heaps, Meghan E. Phillips, Domingo Rubio, Malachi Squires and Mica Ward. All artists have exemplary credentials regionally and nationally.

Ballet Quad Cities gave a unique Halloween experience for all the senses. With the sounds of wind, beautiful sets, dramatic lighting, a smoky dreamlike quality, and the sound of ballet slippers on the floor, I was brought under the trance of this professional art form. Dedication to their craft showed in the expressive dance movements and the attention to detail on all levels of the production.

Stage at Spotlight Theatre

The preshow music set the mood for the evening with such classic sounds as “The Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show and “Werewolves of London” sung by Warren Zevon.

The production was in two parts with an intermission. The first part was Frankenstein’s Follies which was a lively precursor to the dramatic Dracula production. The stage was smoke filled with skeletons and grave stones adding to the feeling. The Follies consisted of several grave yard scenes, one of which was a playfully romantic grave yard dance with skeletons.

Frankenstein’s Follies

“Puttin’ On The Ritz” was a combination of ballet, modern dance and tap.  Another dance started with giant eyes projected onto the stage.

Frankenstein’s Follies

A disco ball descended from the ceiling for “The Monster Mash” which was indeed, a graveyard smash!

Dracula, inspired by Bram Stocker’s work, with featured artist Domingo Rubio as Count Dracula was a visually dynamic door into the occult, the supernatural, vampires, sensuality, and the battle between good and evil. A gothic tale at its best!

Domingo Rubio was in Robert Altman’s film The Company, and is a dancer, choreographer, composer, artist, teacher and pianist. He has danced around the world in the past 20 years. He was a principal in the Joffrey Ballet and his work is emotional and skillful.


Before the show and at intermission, a cocktail called the Vampire Slayer was served along with wine and other beverages. The beverages were fundraising options and this production also included raffle tickets available for a beer basket or a metal sculpture by area artist, John VandeWalle. All proceeds of the evening went to benefit the ballet’s Bullying Prevention Program in area schools.

The next performance of Ballet Quad Cities is The Nutcracker in December 2018 so be sure to plan to attend a performance and mark your calendars for the 2019 season.

Ballet Quad Cities 2018/2019 Season

The Nutcracker

Saturday, December 8, 2018  – 2:30PM & 7:30PM

Sunday, December 9, 2018 – 2:30PM

Adler Theatre in Davenport, Iowa; featuring live music by Orchestra Iowa


Peter & The Wolf; Mother Goose & Other Tales

Saturday, March 30, 2019 – 2:30PM & 7:00PM

Adler Theatre in Davenport, Iowa; featuring live music by Orchestra Iowa


Ballet Under The Stars

Friday, June 7, 2019 – Sunday, June 9, 2019 – 8:00PM

Lincoln Park Classic Theatre in Rock Island, Illinois

Community Engagement

“Social, emotional and experimental learning using dance as a tool for a direct tie-in to the National Learning Standards and Social Emotional Learning”

The organization provides programs for people of all ages and abilities. I was impressed to learn of the impact that Ballet Quad Cities has on the community.

• In-School Outreach Programs for 43 Elementary Schools

• ARC and HDC Programs

• Gigi’s Playhouse

• Bullying Prevention for 30,000 Students

• College Programs

• High School Gym Class

• Programs at 12 Assisted Living Facilities

• Live Theatre Experience

• Dreams After School

• Memorable Impact – Positive Results…Priceless!

Some other examples:

Live performance experience: The Nutcracker

Dance Me A Story: Exploring Literature Through Ballet

The Ugly Duckling: A Message Of Acceptance Told Through Dance

Live Performance Experience: Peter And The Wolf, Mother Goose & Other Tales


Ballet Quad Cities School Of Dance

Classes are taught by the professional dancers of Ballet Quad Cities

Classes age 3 to adult

Ballet • Pointe • Jazz • Modern • Tap • Creative Movement • Adult Ballet

617 17th Street, Rock Island, Illinois • 309-786-2677 •


As Ballet Quad Cities states, Be Part of Something Big! Support the Arts and Ballet Quad Cities.



About the author

Deborah Doehler As a life-time resident of the Quad Cities, Deborah is a multi-media artist who works in jewelry, painting, pottery, drawing, collage, and design. Deborah is retired from Black Hawk College after working for 35 years in Marketing as an award-winning graphic designer, writer, supervisor and graphics coordinator. Since 1975, she has had her own design company and studio. You’ll find Deborah serving on the Visual and Public Arts Committee for Quad City Arts where she was a board member for 8 years. She supports art and cultural events in the Quad Cities area including volunteering for events at MidCoast Fine Arts Bucktown Center for the Arts where she leases a gallery space. She served as Marketing Director for Riverssance Festival of Fine Arts for 15 years.

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