Back Down the Rabbit Hole

Ballet Fantastique and crew refashion Alice in Wonderland

In Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel, Alice falls from the quaint English countryside into a whirling subconsciousness thick with verse and whimsy, but in the new Ballet Fantastique adaptation, Wonderland gets remixed for the stage.

Alice in Wonderland, a new collaborative work from choreographer-producers Donna and Hannah Bontrager, shirks any expectation of traditional ballet by introducing Eugene’s own High Step Society to the Hult Center orchestra pit. High Step’s electro-swing spins vintage jazz through the laundry cycle of electronic dance music, and it comes out fresh, clean and surreal, a proper house-band for March hares, hookah-smoking caterpillars and Cheshire cats.

Hannah Bontrager plays Alice, the intrepid adventurer, as she navigates the court of the Queen of Hearts, a crazy croquet game, a lobster quadrille and the Mad Hatter’s tea party through a balletic series of movements that incorporate social dances and circus acrobatics. 

This kaleidoscopic iteration of Wonderland includes a steampunked ensemble of more than 50 cast members. The project also represents a collaboration with a formidable team of female artists including international designer Allison Ditson, headpiece designer Mitra Chester, set painters Kelle DeForrest and Katey Finley, and Ballet Fantastique’s librettist-historian team of Genevieve and Deborah Speer. 

So don’t be late for the very important date: Mother’s Day.

Alice in Wonderland plays 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 pm Sunday, May 11-13, at ​the Hult’s Soreng Theater; tickets $28-58 (students/youth $18-43), with $5 off regularly priced tickets for groups of five or more.