Ballet Austin to premiere original work, “Stephen Mills’ POE / A Tale of Madness,” this month

Dig into the background of the gothic-inspired production.

Four dancers pose amid a gothic-inspired set featuring candles and moody lighting.

See the dark tales of Edgar Allan Poe come to life through Ballet Austin dancers.

Photo by Paul Michael Bloodgood & Virtigo Pictures, courtesy Ballet Austin

Ballet Austin’s newest original production, “Stephen Mills’ POE / A Tale of Madness” premieres this month and it has more Austin connections than you may think.

Here’s what you should know about the Gothic-inspired show.

First, some background

Ballet Austin has a unique ability to produce original works every few years, thanks to a 2016 endowment from Dr. Ernest and Sarah G. Butler, who are longtime patrons of Austin arts.

The $3 million Butler New Choreography Endowment funds Ballet Austin’s original productions in perpetuity, making the dance company the largest in the US to have a fund reserved exclusively for creating new work.

The first original work that came to be as a result of the fund was the fairy tale-inspired “GRIMM TALES,” which premiered in 2019.

Poe dancers are posed amid a moody set.

The Ballet Austin production is the second original work funded by the Butler New Choreography Endowment.

Photo by Paul Michael Bloodgood & Virtigo Pictures, courtesy Ballet Austin

This show

The ballet centers, unsurprisingly, on the dark tales of Edgar Allan Poe. Several of the author’s gothic stories are featured in the dance, including “The Raven,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and “Fall of the House of Usher.”

Choreographed by lauded artistic director Stephen Mills, the show is set to original music from composer Graham Reynolds (who has scored films like “Before Midnight” and “Bernie”).

The ballet premieres on Friday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. — tickets range from $15 to $99.

Learn about Poe in Austin

Learn more about Edgar Allan Poe at UT’s Harry Ransom Center, which houses an extensive Poe collection including ~70 letters, plus art, photographs, and Poe’s writing desk.

Browse the digital collections online or request to see them in person by making a reservation to visit the Center’s Reading Room.