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Alice Review

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So this is the way HB decided to end Stevenson's tenure at the company...a bit disappointing. Basically a piece of fluff, this ballet is definitely intended for children. And a lot of children there were at the showing that I went to. Ah yes, the cries of a baby, little girl in front kept standing up, random whispering here and there, and crackling of gum wrappers all made this a very pleasant afternoon. Now on to the actual performance...

Sara Webb was perfectly believable as a very cute Alice. Her voice, during the speaking parts, was as sweet as honey. Too bad the choreography doesn't offer much for her to show off any, however, it does give her the chance to display her beautiful classical line. The dancing for Alice's part basically consists of arabesques, penchées, running around on pointe, and battements. The quick-footed White Rabbit was Mauricio Canete, who did a fine job eluding the girl. There were a couple of times when I thought he was a bit off the music, though.

The second scene of Act I is when Alice jumps into the rabbit hole after the Rabbit. She is greeted by a number of animals prancing around, doing cartwheels (I lost track of the number of cartwheels I saw in this ballet). Again, not much to the choreography. If I saw this on television, I would have thought it was some dance sequence out of a musical. The Duchess and the Cook are intoduced in scene III of the Duchess' kitchen. Phillip Broomhead was the Duchess and Britain Werkheiser was the Cook. These two made the first act worth watching. In the kitchen, they throw around a baby and try to roll it out on a slab of dough. The costume for the Cook is comical. Just looking at the huge floppy hat makes you crack a smile. Sceve IV is the forest, and out comes a Caterpillar who slinks across the stage, which drew some laughter, and Father William and Son, mimicked by Alice. The Chesire Cat also shows up pouncing around. Finally, the Butterflies and Dragonflies come out and we get to see some actual ballet going on, although everything is extremely repetitive. Mad Hatter (Dorio Perez made a guest appearance, former principal) and the March Hare have their tea party in scene V. It becomes quite dull here since all they do is mime and everything is repeated about 3 times. The sleepy Dormouse, played by Cleopatra Williams, becomes the Cat's prey. It's pretty funny here when she's dragged around the stage sleeping on the Cat's leg.

Finally, Act II opens with the Snail and Whiting, and the dance of the Turtles and Lobsters. Very odd. In the Queen of Hearts' garden, the Roses have a better dance than the Butterfiles, but still not very exciting. The Tiger Lily pas de deux was beautifully danced by Mireille Hassenboehler and Ian Casady. Hassenboehler is truly something to behold. I hardly noticed the Gardener. Choreography is eh...I thought it was sort of Macmillan like with a bunch of sweeping drops and lifts. The music is lovely here. Casady was a bit sloppy at times, but he was quite impressive. Mireille had spot-on fouettes and a clean series of piques. Her technique is gorgeous and she is a very musical dancer. Scene III is the courtroom. The Queen of Hearts and King were hilarious. They did a mock-court dance in which the Queen threw, lifted, and dragged around the King. Wonderful. Stevenson does know how to use wit.

So, all in all, Alice in Wonderland is childish and playful, something in which the dancers can brush up on their acting and miming skills. I guess the repetition in the choreography can't be solely blamed on the choreographer, since there wasn't much to work with in the score.

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Sad to hear Alice was a bit of a disappointment. I missed it. We were out of town both weekends. I completely agree with Old Fashioned about Hassenboheler

Hassenboehler is truly something to behold.
I saw her dance Aurora a few years ago before her promotion and thought she was wonderful. Glad to hear Sara Webb did a good job of Alice. I really like her and felt she'd give a good performance in the role. A shame the choreography didn't give a chance for her to show more of her talent. I agree with boydancer in a previous post...she is a gorgeous dancer.

Old Fashioned or boydancer, did either of you happen to see the Ben Stevenson tribute on Sunday? We were travelling, so I missed that as well.

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