Up in Winnipeg, where it’s really cold and there’s not much else going on, they have North America’s longest continuously operating ballet company. It was formed in 1939, and because the Canucks never managed to get out from under the Brits, they get to call it the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. This gives the company a huge leg up even if they have to pirouette in parkas ten months out of the year. Mark Godden, a Texas boy, went north 20 years ago to study and dance with the Winnipeg troupe on his way to becoming Canada’s favorite choreographer. He’s created his first full-length ballet for them, based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Performed by a company of 28 dancers to the recorded music of Gustav Mahler, Godden’s Dracula features Tara Birtwhistle as Lucy and soloist CindyMarie Smalls. The bloodsucking count, played by Johnny W. Chang in previous performances (who’s shown in the role in the company’s publicity photos), will be danced by Paul DeStrooper. We’re not exactly sure what happened to Chang. Dracula begins at 8 PM Friday, October 27, at Centre East Theatre in the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 N. Skokie Boule-vard in Skokie. Tickets are $39. Call 847-673-6300.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/courtesy Royal Winnepeg Ballet.