Alice in Wonderland: A Pine Crest Ballet


via Pine Crest Instagram

Dancers take the stage in Pine Crest’s production of Alice in Wonderland.

On Friday March 22nd and Saturday March 23rd, the Pine Crest dance department put on four incredible productions of the ballet adaptation of the classic fairytale, Alice and Wonderland; there was one production for the lower school, one for the middle school, and two for the general audience.

The dance department worked incredibly hard for months leading up to the show. Roles for the production were cast in late November, and dancers attended Saturday rehearsals every week leading up to the performances. The strenuous rehearsals usually lasted from 9 am to 5 pm, depending on the dancer’s role in the performance. The hard work that the dancers invested for the performance was clearly displayed on stage.

“It is amazing to put so much work into a production and then be able to perform it in front of friends and family on such a wonderful stage,” said junior Arielle Rothenberg.

Dancers had the opportunity to work closely with Javier Riefkohl, who played the Knave of Hearts in the show. Riefkohl had plenty of experience in this ballet, as it was his second time performing as the male lead in Alice in Wonderland. He worked closely with the dancers to help perfect their individual performances.

The dance department also had access to Stacy Auditorium’s new digital screen, which allowed for animations to be displayed in the background during the performance. Animations included Alice growing bigger after eating cake, the moon turning into the smile of the Cheshire Cat before Alice enters, and an illusion of swirls as Alice falls down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, all in part to the technological geniuses from PCTV.   

Some of the leads in the show were Lauren Shamie ‘19 and Jenni Wolters ‘19 as Alice, Julia Karten ‘19 and Alex Valad ‘19 as the Queen of Hearts, Julia Tannenbaum ‘19 and Dani O’Keefe ‘21 as the White Rabbit, and Arielle Rothenberg ‘20 and Natalie Rubenstein ‘20 as the Mad Hatter.

This performance marked the seniors’ last Pine Crest ballet, making their last show a bittersweet moment for all. Tears were shed during the traditional senior speeches that are read before the show, and all the seniors felt heavy-hearted during their final performance on Saturday. The teachers also read letters from alumni wishing them luck on their performance and urging dancers to cherish their time left at the Palmer Dance Studio.

“They are such a great group of role models who are amazing dancers and people, and I loved dancing with all them!” junior Arielle Rothenberg said.

Not only did the dancers showcase their performance to the Pine Crest community, but they also had the opportunity to perform at ELS Center of Excellence, a non-profit charter school for individuals with autism. Junior Natalie Rubenstein arranged for the Pine Crest dancers to perform a sensory modified performance of Alice in Wonderland for the students at ELS. The dancers involved in the adaptive performance were truly given an incredible opportunity that proved to be fulfilling and enriching for everyone involved.

“It was nice to come together to help spread that feeling to people who are less fortunate than us and it was overall just a really good experience,” said junior Camy Fischer as she reflected back on her experience.

Due to the visible enthusiasm and passion from the entire cast of Alice in Wonderland, along with the exceptional stage set and phenomenal costumes, this year’s ballet production was one like no other.