Ballet Victoria practices for their latest production, Alice in Wonderland, hitting the Royal Theatre stage on May 17 and 18. (Kendra Crighton/Victoria News Staff)

Ballet Victoria goes dancing down the rabbit hole

Taking place May 17 and 18 at the Royal

A new spin on an old tale is coming up at the Royal Theatre, as Ballet Victoria takes on Alice in Wonderland.

The local company, led by artistic director Paul Destrooper, dives down the rabbit hole for this latest production, which comes to the Royal Theatre on Friday, May 17 (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday, May 18 (2 p.m.) and mixes fantasy with physicality.

Black Press sat down with Destrooper on Monday afternoon for a sneak peak of the performance. He says he’s excited for the but nerves have been taking over, as the final performance is in less than two weeks and he has yet to figure out an ending.

“Sometimes you have an idea and it doesn’t work — we don’t have the luxury of spending a week in the theatre to tweak things so we have to come up with plan A, B, C and D,” he says. “That makes me nervous, it stresses me out.”

Prior to production of the show Destropper read the classic novel to refresh his memory and says he can’t imagine any child enjoying the book.

READ ALSO: Elegant waterfront gala to launch new Ballet Victoria season

“It’s just a bunch of people talking at each other, getting offended, trying to outdo one another, showing they’re smarter than the other but really have no idea what they’re talking about,” he laughs. “So they say what they know but they don’t know what they’re saying”

Destrooper says the easily to offend characters are pretty similar to some of Victoria’s residents.

“People always get so cross easily — whether it’s parking or bike lanes — it’s kind of a microcosm of Alice and Wonderland in Victoria,” he says. “You’ll recognize some of the characters that I’ve put in the ballet as being some of those people.”

His favourite character to work with during this production has been the Red Queen thanks to her out there personality.

“She’s ridiculous and completely out of proportion to everything that’s happening … so with the choreography you can giver her wild steps that are kind of technically insane — it’s kind of fun.”

Principal dancer Andre Bayne stars as the lead character, who finds herself encountering strange and wonderful beings in her travels, with results that will leave you smiling and in admiration of the use of choreography to tell this family favourite story.

READ ALSO: Ballet Victoria stages a musical masterpiece

Tickets for the shows are available online at rmts.bc.ca or by phone at 250-386-6121.

If you’d like to have a sneak peek into the show, the Tea for Tutu program aimed at seniors and children happens May 7 and 8 at 2 p.m. at the St. Andrew’s Church Kirk Hall, 680 Courtney St. These 45-minute by-donation events feature dancer intros, a chat about the creation of the new work, a brief dance preview of the upcoming performance, and a chance to meet the dancers, along with enjoying donated tea and refreshments.

Space is limited; to reserve a spot, go online to balletvictoria.ca/shop/tea-for-tutu/ call 250-380-6063 or send an email to attendance@balletvictoria.ca.



editor@mondaymag.com

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