Constance June 28th, 2006
The silent and expressionist film and ballet techniques of exaggeration allow Virgin’s Diary to particularize, to emphasize, the mirror-aspects ofÂ Stoker’s tale,Â in which each era sees its own varieties of sexual and gender conflicts reflected.Â Thus it is interesting to note that Virgin’s Diary lacks one of the primary conventions of Stoker’s vampires, the absence of a mirror’s reflection.Â Perhaps that is because movies and ballets are conventionally played to a multi-member audience. The players are the audience’s mirror of whatever self the members project upon them.
The art of ballet, like Stoker’s classic vampire tale, stands as a correlative for the use of women until they are used up whether within or without the marriage bond.Â The rigors of the ballet art break down a ballerina’s body.Â Sex, which leads to the rigors of childbirth break women down, as is Lucy Westenra’s mother is broken down, who dies in both Stoker and Diary, because she’s of no use now, not even to the plot.Â It has been considered a puzzle, this inclusion of frail, sick Mrs. Westenra and her death, whether in Stoker or the Diary.Â It is considered an irrelevancy that distorts the tale.Â However, her inclusion and her death underlines (exaggeration and distortion) that this is the life trajectory of women: from freshness (once she was as Lucy is now), to injury-illness-invalidism, monsterhood, death â€“ to be immediately replaced with fresh, untainted virginal blood, like the new, 17-year-old prima replaces the injured prima ballerina assoluta, like the pure Mina Murphy-Harker replaces Lucy Westenra the Monster.
The last vision of Lucy as the pure submissive lovely young woman her three True Men suitors fell in love with is the exquisite submission pas de deux in the graveyard she performs with Dracula when he takes final and full possession of her.Â After this possession she is no longer of interest to him.Â She sinks into the undead immobility of the graveyard at sunrise.Â His attention will turn to the fresh, untouched virgin, Mina.
This sequence of events is the correlative of the warnings traditionally given virgins, to keep their intact state at all costs, and to never ever prefer the sexy outsider bad boy over the good, solid, dull fellow of her own station.Â He’ll use you and desert you and you’ll be worthless evermore, no decent man will have you, you evil slut.
Ballet students tell stories of the Monster Ballet Mistress, forced to retire from performing by age and injury, passionately torturing her students’ bodies and souls. Lucy transforms literally into the most monstrous ‘thing’ woman can be â€“ a baby eater.Â The monster Lucy dances into the scene with a dead baby above her head in an astonishing burlesque of a carnival headdress â€“ carnival that turns all things on their heads â€“ pure, sweet Lucy now the baddest of the bad.
How did this happen?Â Because Lucy, a female, is a container, a container of blood, a container of sex, but not a person â€“ not a man â€“ a True Man?
However, in a story ballet, unlike in a horror film, the principals mustÂ be beautiful and heroic, even if evil, like the Black Swan Queen in Swan Lake, or, in Virgin’s Diary, Dracula, danced by gorgeous Winnipeg Ballet primo, Zhang Wei-Qiang.
So I think that that is how it happened.Â Doesn’t it always?
Or, maybe, it was something else.