Waltz to 'Wonderland' with UA DanceSport

Alice in Winderland1

 Follow the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole, or to the Modern Languages building, and go “mad” with Wildcat DanceSport, the University of Arizona’s competitive ballroom dance team, as they perform Alice in Wonderland.

The group will be doing a fundraising performance to raise money for competitions, costume expenses and venues, according to Victoria Esposito, vice president of Wildcat DanceSport, playwright/producer and player of Alice. 

The club specializes in ballroom dances ranging from Waltz to Jive and is open to anyone who wants to learn how to ballroom dance. 

If members choose to compete, the club attends competitions in California, Nevada and Arizona, according to Taylor Burghard, director and costume designer for the show and the Red Queen.  

Since Wildcat DanceSport is a club registered through the UA Recreation Center, they don’t receive money from the school. 

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Instead, they have to rely on their own talent in dance and theatre to perform for money, according to Burghard.

“Once Upon A Ballroom” allows the club to bring classic fairytales to life and fundraise. 

“The selection of Alice as our next production came up as a bit of a whim. In our first fundraising production, Cinderella, we saw the clear opportunity for showcasing a true ballroom-themed ball scene and have ever since been finding new tales to adapt to the stage for our purpose,” Burghard said.  

Peter Pan and Cinderella have been performed in the past.

“I believe it was in a conversation concerning the outfit of one of our dancers that I mentioned a likeness to the Cheshire Cat, and all of a sudden we were doing Alice as our next show,” Burghard said.

In order to transform a classic fairytale into a dance production, Esposito was required to make a list of characters from the movie, assign dance styles to be included and write the script. 

She portrays the characters how she views them or has always wanted the story to be told, Esposito said.

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“We primarily re-order pieces of the classic story in order to make the tale flow better with dances included and to justify the mood that the dance takes,” Burghard said.

The show features choreography by members of the club and sets and costumes that the club helped create, according to Esposito.

UA student and Alice cast member Jesse Miyoshi will play a duck in the upcoming production. 

“People should attend the show, because it is a great way to learn about ballroom dance and it’s family friendly,” Miyoshi said. “Our goal is to instill a love for ballroom dance in the community.”

Whether you’re ballroom expert or have never seen a performance before, Alice has been written and choreographed so that everyone can understand the meaning of the dance.

“We want people to understand the ballroom dances here, because most already know the stories,” Burghard said. “We put the Pasodoble as a show down between Alice and the Red Queen so that the intention behind the dance style can be implicitly understood by the audience.”

In Peter Pan, the Quickstep was a “sass off” between Wendy Darling and Tinkerbell, but in Alice in Wonderland it’s a chase between the Alice and the White Rabbit, according to Burghard.

“For Alice, it was an honor getting to see Taylor bring the words to life and all of the performers truly embrace the corny melodramatic nature of the script,” Esposito said. “Wonderland truly is a special place to escape to as a performer and an audience member.”

The show will take place Nov. 16, 17 and 18 and tickets can be bought online.

“Everyone has put their heart into this production, and we hope you can embrace your ‘madness’ and enjoy Wonderland!” Esposito said.


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