Charlotte Ballet's Chelsea Dumas demanded attention from the moment she bounded onto the stage as Catherine Earnshaw in Sasha Janes' Wuthering Heights. Premiered last April at the Levine Center for the Arts' Knight Theater in Charlotte, Janes' epic ballet spanned the first half of Emily Brontë's classic novel and was a theatrical tour-de-force.
Dumas, here with Josh Hall, as Catherine Earnshaw in "Wuthering Heights." Photo by Christopher Record, Courtesy Charlotte Ballet.
Playfully wrestling about with her Heathcliff, Josh Hall, Dumas' youthful joie de vivre immediately stole hearts. Her portrayal of Brontë's emotionally complex ingénue torn between two men exuded a formidable blend of spit and vinegar, selfish desire, grace, beauty, and, at ballet's end, madness.
"This was the role of a lifetime," says Dumas. "To embody Catherine at each stage of her life, I felt I truly became her. It was emotionally draining yet completely rewarding."