This contemporary dance series explores the universe of Gothic literature: its stories, creatures, and themes.

We are interested in how Gothic literature and its themes evoke a range of emotions, from love to horror. Curiosity, excitement, exploration of something dark or dangerous, adventure, loss, deformation, search for humanity – the themes reflected in these stories that continue to appeal to us many decades after they were written. In this series, dance artists explore the personal, cultural, and historical symbolism of pointe shoes in the context of ballet, and re-imagine and re-invent their meaning, use, and symbolism. The Gothic literature themes, stories, and personages provide a juxtaposition to the classical balletic ideology of beauty. We look for ways to un-demonize and resurrect creatures, habits, humans, and emotions that, through processes of marginalization, are banished from cultural spot light.

The Dracula’s Garden series investigates social constructions of beauty; ugliness; deformity; both the sublime and the grotesque, and the line between the two. We look for the moments of the uncanny and the sublime, expressed in psychology of writers and readers of Gothic fiction.

The Gothic literary universe provides many useful vehicles that we are applying to the development of dance works for this series: the projection of cultural fears onto those who are Othered; the justification of humans who are marginalized via discourses of monstrosity, inhumanity, and incivility; and the representation of suppressed unconscious urges and impulses in the actions of those deemed ugly, Other, or deformed. Within the dance work development, we investigate how what and who has been Othered and deemed deformed may possess meaning, function, or a personal, non-hierarchical beauty aesthetic.

Concept and Artistic Direction: Alina Sotskova. Choreography: Alina Sotskova and Rachel Helten, in collaboration with the dancers.

“Dracula’s Garden Rising: a contemporary dance film.

This film presents dance work from different choreographers in Dracula’s Garden series. It showcases choreography and concepts from several different dance poems in the larger series. In a way, it is a preview for the larger “Dracula’s Garden” series, giving a glimpse of themes, narratives, emotions, and personages we are exploring in this larger body of artistic work.

The full length film is coming soon – stay tuned for an announcement about screening date!



Right now, we are raising funds to continue work on this series in 2020, and have exciting collaborations planned with dancers, operatic artists, and musicians! If you want to support grassroots, meaning-oriented art and dance, please consider making a donation to our campaign on our Go Fund Me page here:




Duet: Untitled

One of our current works in development: a duet on grief. We work with ideas of creaturely movement, enmeshment of two creatures into one, loss of other, loss of self, death, and reconnection. Choreographed by Alina Sotskova in collaboration with Rachel Helten. Performed by Rachel Helten and Alina Sotskova.




For more videos, see playlist titled, “Dracula’s Garden” in the “Videos” section on our Facebook page: Facebook Voirelia page.

Dracula’s Garden has a show & fundraiser coming up on October 24, 2019! See our Upcoming Projects section.

Facebook event page is can be found here.

Photos from rehearsals, movement research, and specific works in this series:





Photos from shooting of “Dracula’s Garden Rising,” a contemporary dance film in this series:





The Dracula’s Garden series is interdisciplinary. It also includes photography, film, poetry, music and other original works of art. More photography from this series can be found in the Photography section of our website.

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