Alice (in wonderland)

Dancers Angelina Sansone & Geoffrey Kropp. Photographer Steve Wilson.
Dancer: Laura Hunt. Photography: Steve Wilson.

Choreography: Septime Webre
Music: Matthew Pierce

I have always been intrigued by the circumstances surrounding the beginnings of Lewis Carroll’s creation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and his subsequent book Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1871). Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (who later took on the nom de plume of Lewis Carroll) was an interesting fellow; mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon, and photographer, whose love of wordplay is evidenced throughout both books. He was a great friend of real-life Alice and her family, the Liddell’s. One rainy day, Dodgson took Alice and her twin sisters on a picnic at Folly Bridge near Oxford, England where they took a boat ride. It was on that ride that Dodgson began to spin the tall tale of a special girl named Alice, which he subsequently published as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

I have chosen to create a prologue to this adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s work by presenting a fictionalized version of Alice Liddell and her odd-ball family members, who reappear as other characters throughout her journey in Wonderland: Alice’s overbearing mother becomes the Queen of Hearts; her hen-pecked father, the ineffectual King of Hearts; her kooky twin sisters, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum; her narcoleptic Grandmother, the always sleeping Dormouse; her befuddled Grandfather, the perplexed March Hare; the nervous and rushed butler becomes the White Rabbit; and Lewis Carroll himself returns as the Mad Hatter. While I have followed the structure of the first book, some of my favorite elements from the second book such as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, the Jabberwocky, and others, make an appearance in the ballet.

On behalf of the army of passionate people who’ve created this production together, it’s an honor to share this special tale of a little girl and her amazing adventure with you.

Ballet premiere: The Washington Ballet, April 11, 2012
Eisenhower Theater, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.

Kansas City Ballet premiere: October 10, 2014
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Missouri

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