The journey down the rabbit hole is one that most American children can recall vividly. Alice in Wonderland is a story that is colorful and bizarre in the very best ways. The Ballet Arts of Jackson performance this weekend was exceptional in the way they brought all of those iconic characteristics to the Civic Center stage.
The production brought forth many fun-filled events for all ages this weekend, including a true Mad Hatter Tea Party event with characters, a shop with sweets and perfectly girly gifts, photo opportunities with Alice herself, and (of course) several showtimes to experience! Like every Ballet Arts production, the show had a way of bringing out the ballerina in all of us. Whether it’s in the little girl dancing just like the big girls next to the stage during intermission or (if you're like me) finding yourself naming every dance move and remembering all the times you danced on that stage, there is a sense of fantasy in the air surrounding these shows that just cannot be ignored.
Ballet is beautiful, grace-filled, and amazing to see. However, ballet can often be considered a stiff, regal, and generally unattainable art form. The key to a ballet performance that will engage and entertain an audience is to find that middle ground where the dance is both appreciated for its merit and understood by the audience. Alice achieved this in many ways. This show, though a ballet in nature, featured jazz, tap, and hip-hop numbers. This seemed to add layers of interest for the audience, as well as the cast members. I’ve never seen dancers have so much fun on the stage!
When asked what her favorite part about being in the show was, second-year Chloe Smith said, “I loved working together with my friends and watching everything take place backstage. And, of course, dancing.”
The show was fast-paced and always packed with vibrant colors and fascinating characters. Even the youngest of viewers were captivated by the whole thing, which is impressive and holds to the essence of the tale impeccably. This was the third time Ballet Arts has produced this show, every time presented a little differently than the last.
Ballet Arts of Jackson has been working with the talented young dancers in the area to bring Jackson two performances a year since 1975. This production featured a large cast of different ages and talents, which were very clearly accentuated. Senior dancers Claire Pierson and Grace Lemons dominated the stage in their roles of Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts. They were expert in their integration of jazz and pure slapstick acting into their ballet roles that fit their character’s sass and eccentricity wonderfully. In addition to that, every character truly expressed themselves so clearly during this ballet that has no speaking parts.
The talent we have in Jackson was displayed in full here. I encourage you to watch and support this art form that our very own youth are providing so professionally and faithfully. Hopefully you too were able to experience this show, but, if not, Ballet Arts will be hard at work to bring you The Nutcracker this winter.
To learn more about Ballet Arts of Jackson, visit their website.
Natalie Pflasterer is a young Jackson native who spends her time helping out at Jackson Escape Rooms. She is a freshman at Union University.
Hannah Russell grew up in Eastern Europe and has made Jackson her new home. She is a recent Union University graduate and works for Lane College as a photographer.