Despite having spent more than a decade turning-out, tendue-ing, and ronde-de-jambe-ing, I don’t generally care to see a traditional ballet. And when I do happen to be at the ballet, I usually find myself daydreaming or running through my endless to-do lists, which might have something to do with my still un-acquired taste for classic music.
But when my fellow former bun-head Trish invited me to join her to see Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Wonderland at the National Arts Centre, I eagerly jumped. Hey, who am I to say no to a night out with a girlfriend? (In fact, Trish and I always do dance things together … she even had to walk me to my car after seeing the film Black Swan since I was so spooked!)
This ballet is (accurately) described like this:
Wonderland is a contemporary and mature re-envisioning of the tale’s characters, events, and themes that will surprise and delight audiences. The Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter are all on hand, displaying generous doses of wit, camp and humour. The surreal and dark elements that lurk at the original story’s fringes are bravely realized in explosive passages of breathtaking dance and innovative multimedia. Shawn Hounsell, acclaimed choreographer and RWB alumnus, has transformed Wonderland into a multi-sensory experience, with edgy and athletic movement, an inventive electro-acoustic soundscape, and unexpected visual treats. This is Alice like you’ve never seen her before!
For those intimately familiar with the tale of Alice in Wonderland, like the young woman sitting next to me giggling the entire show, it was probably even more enjoyable. But for even someone like me — a reluctant ballet-watcher who is mildly ashamed to admit she has never even read or watched Alice in Wonderland — it was a fantastic spectacle, with clever cheeky elements thrown in along with beautifully delivered dance.
However, the REAL highlight was intermission. And this was actually why Trish was in attendance … to report on what was to transpire at intermission — a flash mob dance! I’d always admired and loved flash mobs. To me, they seem to represent what is best in the world. I know that sounds dramatic, but stick with me. A flash mob takes countless hours and hours to rehearse and practice. And what for? To provide unexpected joy in the day of a group of strangers.
I video’d the whole thing on my phone. But after spending far too much time trying to upload the thing, I was happy to find it for you. Here it is!