Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Virginia Regional Ballet Ventures Down the Rabbit Hole with New Spring Ballet

(provided by Virginia Regional Ballet)

WILLIAMSBURG — For the first time since 1992, the Virginia Regional Ballet will be performing “Alice in Wonderland” at the Norge CrossWalk Church on April 29.

The performance will follow the classic tale of Alice as she ventures down the rabbit hole and encounters a variety of characters and wildlife. Guest artists featured in the performance include:

  • Andrea Marini (White Rabbit) from American Repertory Ballet
  • Nanako Yamamoto (Red Bird) is from American Repertory Ballet
  • William Sterling Walker (Queen of Hearts) is a former dancer with the Richmond Ballet and a VRB Faculty member
  • Ainsley Carpenter (Mad Hatter and Caterpillar) former student now a student at VCU

The title role of Alice is being performed by VRB student Alice Edquest. Edquest is a 10th grade homeschooler who attends Classical Conversations. When she isn’t dancing, she enjoys all other artistic pursuits, including drawing, painting, and crafting, as well as visiting museums and going to shows.

Alice Edquest to play the title character in Virginia Regional Ballet’s performance of “Alice in Wonderland” (provided by Virginia Regional Ballet)

According to Edquest’s biography, she began dancing at the age of six at Jessica Morgan School of Dance and then at Chesterfield Dance Center in Richmond, Virginia. She came to Virginia Regional Ballet in 2016, and has since performed in five of VRB’s productions of “The Nutcracker” in a variety of roles from Little Party Girl to lead Russian and Tirolese. In VRB’s production of “Fairy Tale to Fairy Tale” last spring, Edquest danced the roles of a Beatrix Potter Pig, Cinderella corps, the Red Riding Hood pas de deux, Snow White, and the Energy Fairy in Sleeping Beauty.

The performers auditioned in January and began rehearsal for the spring performance in February. Before the public weekend performance, the group is also performing for various schools in the area on Wednesday, April 26, to help encourage kids’ interest and pursuit of the arts.

The performance features Heidi Robitshek as artistic director and Adelle Carpenter as assistant director.

Carpenter had previously played Alice when VRB performed “Alice in Wonderland” as the Chamber Ballet in 1992.

“It’s been a lot of fun watching someone else take over the role and add their nuances to it,” Carpenter said. “It’s been fun because it was an old ballet such a long time ago to recreate and add some additional things to it and think about lighting — it’s just a whole new aspect for me to think about.”

There will be a variety of music featured during the performance, including the Dying Swan.

The performance will be on April 29, with two showings at the CrossWalk Church in Norge — one at 2 p.m. and one at 5:30 p.m. The performances will feature an intermission and tickets can be purchased online ahead of time or at the door. The full performance is about an hour-and-a-half long.

“It’s good for young children since it’s not too terribly long,” Carpenter explained. “There is also an intermission. It’s a good one to introduce if kids have never sat through a full performance before. This is a fast-paced, high-energy, short ballet.”

For more information about the Virginia Regional Ballet, visit its official website.

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