By: Mary Todd Anthony, sports and entertainment, OU Daily
“Alice (In Wonderland),” presented by the Oklahoma City Ballet, will take the stage at the Civic Center Music Hall on Friday, Oct. 26. The production will illustrate the story by Lewis Carroll through dance, theater and puppetry.
The dancers involved in the production come from all across the globe, said Robert Mills, the artistic director of Oklahoma City Ballet.
“I audition dancers during an annual audition tour. I travel all over the United States from New York to San Francisco,” Mills said. “Our dancers are currently comprised from countries like Ukraine, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Venezuela and all over the United States.”
Artistic director of the Hong Kong Ballet Septime Webre choreographs “Alice (In Wonderland).” According to the OKC Ballet website, Webre was also once the artistic director of the Washington Ballet, where he accomplished turning American literature, such as “The Great Gatsby,” into fully developed ballets.
“He choreographed (“Alice”) in 2012 and (it) debuted (at) the Kennedy Center. Septime has also done many, many other ballets,” Mills said. “In Hong Kong, that is the most recent place that ‘Alice (In Wonderland)’ has been performed, and it got really great reviews there.”
The musical score of Matthew Pierce, a composer-violinist, will be performed at the production. Pierce has been part of writing scores for other major ballet organizations, such as the Joffrey Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre and more than 15 other major ballet companies.
“Matthew Pierce has traveled here to conduct the small chambered orchestra in the pit during our performances, and he will also play the first violin during the performances. I think it’s a pretty unique opportunity for us to have this conductor in town conducting and playing,” Mills said.
The Oklahoma City Philharmonic, an orchestra based in Oklahoma City, will perform Pierce’s works.
“Any time we are able to provide live music for a ballet performance, it adds another layer of artistry to the production. The use of live music and the flexibility and artistic license it gives the musicians, dancers and conductor leaves the audience with a truly remarkable experience — one that can’t be replicated with canned music,” said Kris Markes, the general manager of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. “The give and take between the musicians and the dancers, all facilitated by the conductor, is a moving experience.”
This production will also feature a puppet that is about 30 feet long and controlled by six dancers, Mills said. This puppet, he said, will bring awe to both children and adults alike.
“It’s an easy story to understand. It’s accessible. It’s colorful. It’s dynamic. It’s contemporary,” Mills said. “And the movement and choreography that Septime provides is really engaging. There’s so many elements to the production that people would find unexpected from the scenery, the costumes and the puppet that makes it very different from many other ballets.”
Tickets for “Alice (in Wonderland)” are available for purchase online. Showtimes are 8:00 p.m. Oct. 26, 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m Oct. 27, and 2:00 p.m. Oct. 28. Ticket prices start at $15 and go up to $75, which vary for children, military, students, adults and seniors.