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‘Alice’ swings her way through ‘Wonderland’

Gainesville Ballet gives a hip new twist to classic tale

POSTED: March 22, 2012 12:30 a.m.

The Gainesville Ballet Company's cool cat production of "Alice in Wonderland" is sure to be a swinging good time.

"It's set in the Roaring '20s," said Diane Callahan, the company's founding artistic director.

"We performed a more conventional ‘Alice' four or five years ago, so we wanted to do something to make this one unique. We have a different choreographer for this show and she came up with the whole idea of setting it in the '20s.

"The whole thing is full of flappers, jazz music and wise guys. It's very different, but very fun."

The performances will be staged in Brenau University's Pearce Auditorium, 500 Washington St. SE in Gainesville.

Tickets for the show range in price from $10 to $24, depending on seat location. The company will perform four shows this weekend: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee.

Although the shows will feature some of the classic features, such as Alice falling down a rabbit hole, expect a few twists and turns in the plot.

"The Queen of Hearts decides that Alice isn't up to date, so there's a transformation that takes place and she becomes a flapper," said Tamara Stevenson, the company's executive director.

"It's pretty cool. The music is exciting and the costumes are fabulous."

The show features more than 90 cast members. That's bigger than the company's large ensemble for its winter "Nutcracker" performances.

"The dancers range in age from 7 and up," Callahan said.

"We always try to incorporate the younger kids in our productions because it gets them excited about dancing because they envision themselves in the larger roles when they get older."

Before each of the headlining performances, the company will perform a few, short repertory pieces.

Those compositions, which run the gamut from hip-hop inspired to classically inclined, are the appetizer before the ballet company serves up its main dish of white rabbits, mad hatters and speakeasy delights.

"This show is very comedic," Callahan said.

"It's really great for the kids. They'll love it."


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