By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
The Headless Horseman rides again in a revival of a Lone Star Ballet original production.
The company's adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow will be staged at 8 p.m. Oct. 27 and 28 in the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Buchanan St. Tickets are $10 to $40, plus fees. Call 806-372-2463 or 806-378-3096.
LSB first staged the ballet in 2012, and artistic director Vicki McLean has been eagerly awaiting another chance at the story.
"I love Sleepy Hollow," McLean enthused.
The story of Ichabod Crane and his mysterious encounter with the Headless Horseman was told in a Washington Irving short story set in 1790, but the production will use state-of-the-art digital projections to help bring it to life. And having one production under her belt is helping McLean better utilize those backgrounds.
"That's why I'm changing a lot of (the dances), to go with the background more, with the fun and creepiness of it," McLean said.
One major change: The finale.
"The end is going to be fuller," McLean said. "Ichabod Crane will still disappear, and the Horseman will still throw a pumpkin at him, but we'll have a full forest of dancers."
Reprising the role of the bookish, superstitious schoolmaster Ichabod is Edgar Tarango, with Roxann Seaton once again dancing as Katrina, the wealthy young woman for whom Ichabod has set his hat.
"(Tarango) has such a marvelous personality for Ichabod, but he's certainly more handsome than most Ichabod Cranes," McLean said.
The dancer stepped into the role late into the rehearsal process for the 2012 production, and he said he's "not so flabbergasted" this time around.
"I have time to clean up all the steps and make them look better, so I'm getting to enjoy it a lot more this time," Tarango said. "The muscle memory is coming back quickly, so I don't have to spend as much time learning it and have more time to work on the steps."
In the story, Ichabod's main rival for Katrina's affections is the rowdy Brom Bones, but off-stage, Tarango is rather in awe of castmate Kel Martin's talents.
Martin, 16 and a junior at Amarillo High School, played one of Ichabod's young students when the production was first staged. Now a daunting 6-foot-1-inch tall, Martin is stepping forward as one of LSB's strongest male dancers.
"He's come a long way," Tarango said. "Usually, taller people have a hard time with their limbs (while dancing), but he really grew into his body and knows how to use it. He's a great dancer."
"He went from this little boy to a vibrant young man. It's very exciting to see him now," she said. "He is really blossoming as a great male dancer — very strong, very virile on stage and, of course, exceedingly tall."
Martin said he doesn't have many strong memories of the first production, in which older brother Haddon danced the role of one of Brom's friends, but in the years since, Kel said he has grown more serious about becoming a dancer — "I found my passion for it" — and now finds it "mindbreaking" that he gets to dance as Brom Bones.
"It's all coming together now," Martin said. "It's interesting to know more about the show and put it all together. I truly didn't know the story of Brom Bones and how the Headless Horseman came to be."
Not to spoil a nearly 200-year-old story, but Martin does dance as both Brom and the Horseman.
And the young dancer said he thoroughly enjoys it: "It's just fun to be evil sometimes."
Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at Chip.Chandler@actx.edu, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and on Facebook.