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Kittiwake Ballet Theatre goes down a new rabbit hole with ‘Alice and Other Wonderlands’

Stephanie Campbell (left) plays the infamous Queen of Hearts in Kittiwake Dance Theatre’s production of ‘Alice and Other Wonderlands,” happening at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre Oct. 13
Stephanie Campbell (left) plays the infamous Queen of Hearts in Kittiwake Dance Theatre’s production of ‘Alice and Other Wonderlands,” happening at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre Oct. 13 - Contributed

There’s something about Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” that just called out for a ballet version, according to Martin Vallée.
Vallée is just the person to make it happen.
As artistic director of Kittiwake Dance Theatre in St. John’s, Vallée has been the creative mind behind many beloved — and intricate — productions, most notably Kittiwake’s annual performance of “The Nutcracker,” which has become a Christmas tradition for many families.
“I think it’s just because of how it goes in so many different directions,” Vallée says of what drew him to “Alice in Wonderland”. “The narrative is a little crazy. There are so many things to pick from.”
And, of course, there’s the fact that the storyline welcomes unique twists, which is something Vallée relishes.
Kittiwake will premiere “Alice and Other Wonderlands,” a one-act ballet, on Oct. 13 at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre. The one-night-only show will mark the start of Kittiwake’s 2018-19 season, and the dance company is planning to bring it to Gander next spring.
The first part of the show will feature a live musical performance by the award-winning Duo Concertante (Nancy Dahn on violin and Tim Steeves on piano) doing Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” and Kittwake company dancers’ performance of Janie Richards’ “L’Iverno.” They’ll also perform “After the Dust Settles,” created by Vallée as a reflection on the effects of social media and urban living.
The second part of the show is all about Alice, including ballet, contemporary dance, video projections and aerialists.
“The fun part of doing something new is that you don’t know what you’re doing,” Vallée says with a chuckle.
Kittiwake held an open audition for “Alice and Other Wonderlands.” Alongside 19 Kittiwake members will be some younger dancers (16 small butterflies, Vallée says, as well as a sea of nine-year-olds) and others. All the best “Alice in Wonderland” characters will take to the stage.
Pairing live music and dance is something Vallée appreciates and Kittiwake has done before. At least one performance of “The Nutcracker” is presented with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra every year (and the dance company is in discussions with the NSO on another project), and Shallaway Youth Choir has also been a collaborator in the past.
“Musical theatre is so big here,” Vallée notes, saying his plan is to establish full seasons with Kittiwake, with some full-time, paid dancers.
“My heart is in Kittiwake. I really want to do something where we can sustain professional dancers here, so they don’t have to move away.”
Tickets for “Alice and Other Wonderlands” are available at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre box office and online at www.artsandculturecentre.com.

Tara.bradbury@thetelegram.com
Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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