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Alice In Wonderland (Act II) [Pittsburgh?]

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0088
Run Time
0h 7m 40s
"Alice in Wonderland" is a ballet in 2 acts, based on Lewis Carroll's 1865 children's book. Originally choreographed by Michael Charnley (London, 1953) to music by Joseph Horovitz. Ruth Page's version was initially called "Alice in the Garden," (not yet a full ballet) with music by Isaac Van Grove. It was premiered in 1970 at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts. The piece was later realized as a full-length ballet: "Alice in Wonderland," also sometimes referred to as "Alice through the Looking-glass." Music for this extended version was pieced together from many composers. Its Chicago premiere was in April 1977 at the Arie Crown Theatre in the new McCormick Place.

In this undated excerpt from Act II, Alice walks through the looking glass, confronts the Jabberwock, and is rescued by a knight. Also included are a jester on a unicycle and an extended sequence containing young children dancers in all white; a few are portrayed in close-up.
The film opens with Alice posed before her looking glass (which is actually an empty frame, behind which another dancer is posed as if to mirror the Alice directly in front of the camera). Alice then begins to dance with her reflection, which eventually breaks away from Alice's movements and beckons her to follow her through the looking glass. Alice does so, and is confronted almost immediately by a knight galloping on his armored horse (the horse is part of a single costume). When the knight exits, the Jabberwock (a 2-person dragon costume) enters and chases Alice around in circles as the Lewis Carroll poem "Jabberwocky" is recited. The knight then reenters (without his horse) to rescue Alice; after slicing the Jabberwock in two, he escorts her offstage. The final three minutes of the film consist of a group dance by three adult men and numerous small children dancers (most of them girls). All are dressed in white leotards and tights with silver tinsel accents--it is unclear what their roles are in the Alice narrative, but all do a great deal of spinning and swaying. After all but one adult dancer exit, the film ends.
00:05-00:12 - A countdown from 8 to 2 appears onscreen 00:14-00:36 - Pink screen with piano intro playing 00:37 - Fade in to tight LS of Alice standing in B+ before a full-size looking glass (actually an empty frame, behind which stands another dancer in the same costume) 00:38-01:35 - Alice dances with her reflection 01:36-01:45 - Alice's reflection no longer mirrors her, and instead beckons her through the looking glass; camera pans left to follow her as the frame is raised 01:45-02:08 - Someone shouts "Whoaaa" as a knight and armored horse (all one costume) emerge from stage left and circle Alice; camera follows in tight LS 02:08-02:22 - Alice grabs the horse's behind and follows along until the horse seems to spin out of control (another "Whoaaa") and it exits stage left 02:23-02:25 - Alice watches them leave and walks back toward center stage as the music changes 02:27-02:35 - Camera pans left to reveal the Jabberwock (a 2-person dragon costume) lumbering in from stage right 02:35-03:19 - Camera follows the Jabberwock in tight LS as it dances; a woman recites the corresponding Carroll poem "Jabberwocky" 03:20-03:34 - Recitation continues as Alice runs in circles and the Jabberwock chases her 03:35-03:55 - The knight in his armor (this time sans horse) arrives with sword and shield from stage left to protect Alice from the Jabberwock; he lunges at it first from its left, then from its right, and manages to slice it in two (camera follows his efforts in tight LS) 03:55-04:12 - The recitation begins again as the camera pans back and forth between the two pieces of the Jabberwock, which try to reassemble themselves 04:13 - Cut to an abstract still: dark red geometric shapes on a white background, slowly coming into focus (recitation continues uninterrupted) 04:20 - Cut back to the stage, this time in ELS, as the two halves of the Jabberwock exit on opposite sides of the stage, leaving the knight alone at center 04:23-04:30 - Alice marches to center to join the knight; he happily escorts her off stage left 04:32-04:40 - Still in ELS, a tall male dancer in a white leotard enters from stage left carrying a small child in the same costume above his head, he is trailed by a line of additional young dancers; they walk in a circle around the stage 04:40-05:00 - Two more adult dancers enter (one from stage right and one from stage left) with more children, all of whom scurry around stage until the adults put down those youths they were carrying 05:01-05:30 - The adults come to the center and create a formation through which the young dancers scurry in a row; they then separate into two clusters on either side of the adults and perform simple swaying choreography 05:31-05:55 - The children kneel as the adults lift individual children from stage right, spin with them, and toss them across to stage left 05:56-06:20 - The children then settle into three clusters (stage left, center, stage right), each with an adult to anchor it; a jester enters on a unicycle, circles around the center cluster a few times, and exits downstage left 06:21-06:27 - Two adults return to center and lift/spin children again 06:28-06:47 - Cut to MS of the children in a line, holding hands and running in a zig-zag pattern 06:48-7:05 - Cut to another MS of an adult dancer putting down a child; slow pan left to reveal more of them in a row behind him, swaying; pan back right over the row to the adult spinning one last child; pan right to another adult, then more children and the third adult kneeled, swaying 07:06-7:08 - Cut to another MS of the legs only of these dancers running to the left 07:09 - Cut to an upward tilt in MS of one small kneeling dancer swaying her arms 07:11 - Cut to a MCU of another young dancer swaying 07:14 - Cut to a MCU of a third young dancer swaying 07:16 - Cut to a MCU of a fourth young dancer swaying 07:18 - Cut to a MCU of the jester on his unicycle, and a tilt down to reveal the whole contraption 07:23 - Cut to MCU of the children holding hands and running again 07:25 - Cut to MS of the running in zig-zag 07:35 - Cut to ELS of stage as all children and all but one adult run off stage right; the final adult stays behind as if to wave farewell 07:42 - Cut to green screen with glitter/white particles sparkling throughout 07:43 - End
Additional Credits
Page, Ruth (is choreographer)
Related Place
Pittsburgh (production location of)