Backstage Reporter – Chelsy Meiss for Ballet News

May 30, 2011

Backstage

dancer in black tutu and mad hat for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Chelsy Meiss Photograph : Aleksandar Antonijevic

Backstage Reporter – Chelsy Meiss goes backstage in rehearsals for Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for Ballet News

Christopher Wheeldon has been in rehearsals with us since Wednesday. These rehearsals have been very detailed and extensive. This is important because the ballet has many small details that need to be communicated to the audience in a concise manner. Facial expressions, for example, are very important and every detail counts. Dancers’ mannerisms and facial expressions have to be consistent so that the audience recognizes them when they return as a different character.

choreographer Christopher Wheeldon holds up his hands

Christopher Wheeldon and Artists of the Ballet in rehearsal for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Photograph : Sian Richards

The small details are also important because they prompt the audience to look at the proper character at the time. For example, if both The Queen of Hearts and The Caterpillar are onstage at the same time, the audience must watch the proper character to follow the story without confusion. Making sure the right character is demanding attention is crucial and we have to iron out such details in rehearsals.

Working with Christopher Wheeldon has been a pleasure. He is a very engaged choreographer, not simply sitting and watching from the front of the room but always demonstrating the steps and joining the dancers. He even does The Queen of Hearts’ facial expressions, which is very funny to see a grown man do!

Next week, we start rehearsing at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. I am very excited for this because rehearsals will be more set and projection based. This will be our first time seeing the projections and I can’t wait to watch from the wings!

dancer chats to two others in rehersal studio

Christopher Wheeldon and Artists of the Ballet in rehearsal for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Photograph : Sian Richards

Read part one of Chelsy’s backstage diary

Watch an excerpt from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with The Royal Ballet starring Lauren Cuthberston and Sergei Polunin

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Read part two of Chelsy’s backstage diary

Read part three of Chelsy’s backstage diary

Read part four of Chelsy’s backstage diary

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