Alice’s adventures in Wonderland: an entertaining and hopeful dream

Ballet has always been infatuated by dreams. This fascination is rather useful: ballet is arguably the most ethereal of all performing arts. In order to convey something, dancers have nothing but their bodies. Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, is a story that deals precisely with dreams as symptoms to the power of the imagination –a subject naturally given to a balletic treatment.

Recently, I had the opportunity in Buenos Aires to watch a live stream of the Royal Ballet’s Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. This was my first time watching a ballet performance at a movie theater, and I have to say it was a very fortunate one: I just loved this production.

Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography relied heavily on the handling of the corps de ballet, which was certainly impressive. However, with the exception of the character of The Mad Tapper, individuality didn’t play a major role. Alice’s role, for example, wasn’t offered many chances to stand out or shine.

The use of props was very ingenious: the way the dancers were able to integrate them into the story they were telling, with the aid of superb visuals, was at times breathtaking. Technology definitely played a vital role within the production team’s goal of dazzling the audience.

Joby Talbot’s score was, to put it mildly, efficient. The composer, wisely applying a cinematic approach, managed to deliver a musical foundation onto the story could stand firmly. Talbot’s use of orchestral resources was perhaps too cautious. His language was strictly traditional and excessively conservative -he could have made a better use of the brass and the strings sections in certain passages of the ballet. I would even dare to say that, while the music was appropriate, in the end resulted the least imaginative element of the production.

Alice’s adventures in Wonderland is a triumph, and a testament to Royal Ballet’s pursuit of entertaining its audience through the presentation of original material. After seeing this marvelous production, one can only hope that is performed more frequently, even by other ballet companies around the world.

In times like these, where many critics and scholars moan, with a very pessimistic tone, about the not-so-bright future of ballet, an exciting new production like this not only brings well-crafted entertainment but also delivers a needed amount of hope for this magnificent art form.


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