Saturday, March 24, 2 & 8 p.m.
Adler Theatre, 136 East Third Street, Davenport IA
A storybook classic comes to magical stage life at Davenport's Adler Theatre when the professional talents of Ballet Quad Cities present their March 24 world premiere Alice in Wonderland, a full-length family ballet bursting with unforgettable characters, vibrant colors, astounding dancing, and live music by Orchestra Iowa composed by the legendary Pyotor Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Although Tchaikovsky composed the music for such iconic works as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker, he never wrote a score for an Alice in Wonderland ballet. But in Ballet Quad Cities' latest presentation, samples from Tchaikovsky's broad canon of compositions have been employed to fashion a new stage version of Lewis Carroll's literary classic. “It's lesser-known but really awesome pieces of music put together for Alice,” says choreographer and Ballet Quad Cities Artistic Director Courtney Lyon. “Everything we picked just fits the story perfectly.”
In translating Carroll's prose to ballet form, Lyon says, “I started by reading the book first – and I really had to read it a page at a time and put it down, because it is so thick with wordplay and puns and allusions and alliteration. It also moves really fast and cuts from scene to scene with no apparent transitions, and if you grew up watching the Disney-cartoon version, it kind of mixes both Alice in Wonderland and [Carroll's follow-up] Through the Looking Glass … . So it was an interesting process to find a way to tell this story through dance, and to separate Lewis Carroll from Walt Disney.”
Yet while Ballet Quad Cities' Alice in Wonderland promises to be more faithful to Carroll than Disney, audiences can certainly plan on seeing their favorite storybook characters danced on-stage. Among the full Ballet Quad Cities ensemble participating, the production features Bridget Polei as the White Rabbit, Nicholas Garlo as the Cheshire Cat, Aubrey Clayton as the Mad Hatter, Lauren Carmen as the March Hare, Mica Ward as the Doormouse, Branson Bice as the Mock Tutle, and Alexander Kingma – whom Lyon describes as “a crack-up … so funny” – as the Queen of Hearts.
The role of Alice, meanwhile, is danced by Caroline Cady, a 16-year-old student dancer who, says Lyon, “has been with the Ballet Quad Cities School of Dance since she was three or four. She's a really mature, sophisticated dancer, but she embodies the youth and the innocence of Alice, and danced the role of Clara in our Nutcracker three or four years ago. She's a very talanted young dancer – a lot of people can't tell that she's a student and not a professional, because she really is of that caliber.”
Alice in Wonderland will be performed at 2 and 8 p.m. on March 24, tickets are $12-31 for adults and $10-17 for children, and an “afterglow party” will be held in the Hotel Blackhawk lobby following the evening performance, enabling patrons to meet the dancers and Orchestra Iowa musicians. For more information, call (309)786-3779, and for tickets, visit AdlerTheatre.com or BalletQuadCities.com.