By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – Artists from around the world are making Alice’s Wonderland come to life with the Civic Ballet.
The Civic Ballet is producing “Alice in Wonderland” on Saturday. The company was inspired by Japanese choreography and will be joined by international guest artists.
“We wanted to do a show that would appeal to a young audience,” said the Civic Ballet’s artistic director, Jan Dijkwel. “I saw a company in Japan produce this and I thought about how we can make this work.”
The Civic Ballet is basing its choreography on Japan’s Tottori City Ballet’s choreography, and one of Tottori’s members, Risa Nakagawa, will perform with the Civic Ballet.
“The choreography’s really upbeat, very joyful, very exciting, very lively and mysterious at the same time,” he said. “All of those components make for a great experience.”
Carlos Taylor from New York City’s Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Canadian ballet dancer Christopher Bull are also performing in the production.
The performance will also include original Civic Ballet choreography.
The company also opened up auditions to all ballet dancers in the area, giving Civic Ballet dancers a chance to teach younger dancers.
“It’s been really cool for them to learn leadership skills. It’s nice that these younger dancers can look up to this more established group,” Dijkwel said.
Adrienne Hildenbrand, 13, stars as Tweedle Dee, and Hetty Layton, 17, stars as a flower in the ballet.
“I think people think ballet is slow, but this is really exciting and interesting,” Hildenbrand said. “It’s going to be fun to watch.”
“It’s a different way to tell the story,” she said. “It’s going to be a really cool family show.”
The Civic Ballet’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” is partially funded by grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts.
DIM THE LIGHTS
• What: Civic Ballet presents “Alice in Wonderland”
• When: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday
• Where: Tupelo Civic Auditorium
• Cost: $25/premium, $12/general admission, $6/12 and under
• Info: civicballet.org, (662) 680-9041
• Extra: A Mad Hatter’s tea party for children will follow the 2 p.m. performance in the middle school cafeteria. Tickets are $10, and adult chaperones are free.