Fantasy sparks to life in Alice adventure

The Tracy Delport Dance Company is set to lure audiences into the weird and wonderful world of Mad Hatters, Cheshire cats and evil queens in their stage production ‘Alice Dances Through the Looking Glass’, based on the Lewis Carroll classic, starting at the Guild Theatre on Wednesday night
The Tracy Delport Dance Company is set to lure audiences into the weird and wonderful world of Mad Hatters, Cheshire cats and evil queens in their stage production ‘Alice Dances Through the Looking Glass’, based on the Lewis Carroll classic, starting at the Guild Theatre on Wednesday night
Image: Kirsty Lake

The Tracy Delport Dance Company is set to lure audiences into the weird and wonderful world of Mad Hatters, Cheshire cats and evil queens in their new stage production, adapted from Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, starting at the Guild Theatre on Wednesday night.

Bringing the crazy, costumed characters to life, the 400 cast members, featuring dancers-in-training ranging between three and 60 years old, have been hard at work rehearsing their modern, tap, hip hop, contemporary and pantsula choreography for their rendition of the tale.

“It’s been crazy, but we’ve had so much fun and so much support from the dancers, parents, Guild Theatre staff members and everyone else involved.

“The show is really just about having fun and encouraging a love of theatre through creativity. I really wanted to create a positive experience for everyone involved,” said Delport, who flew in friend and set creator Linda Warner from the US to add her artistic flare to the show.

Warner, who works as a wedding planner in Charleston after immigrating with her family last year, said she was ecstatic to be back at the Guild working on one of Delport’s sets.

“Tracy and I have known each other for about 16 years, and after immigrating I knew that this is probably the thing I’d miss the most,” said Warner, who has drawn inspiration from the 2016 film to create the show’s stage sets and design the lighting.

“Tracy gives me so much creative freedom and it’s amazing to work with someone who has so much faith in my ideas and artistry. I really wanted to bring out the weirdness of the film, so I’ve picked out elements that attracted me and just blown them over the top, and Tracy has let me go wild with it.”

From roses and white rabbits to clocks and teapots, the theatre has been transformed into a fantastically abstract world which will have audiences believing in magic.

“Linda’s sets are amazing, and I couldn’t imagine having anyone else bring our stage to life the way she can,” said Delport.

Warner, however, was not the only one who had the opportunity to show off her creative spark.

Dancer Sheldon Holm, who plays the eccentric Mad Hatter, said that Delport also allowed her dancers the freedom to make the characters their own.

“I get to do whatever I feel like doing with the character.

“We obviously have to stick to choreography, but the in-between parts are completely our own,” said Holm.

Delport said: “All of my leads feed off of each other so well, so the show has evolved so much with each and every rehearsal.

“Sheldon does a great job of playing off of the audience, too, so something different happens every night and the cast just go with it and make it their own.”

From eccentric sets and lighting to wonderfully weird characters, Alice Dances Through the Looking Glass promises to entice audiences of all ages, with tickets for Friday and Saturday’s performances already sold out.

Limited tickets are available for Wednesday and Thursday at R120 for adults and R100 for children under 13.

Performances start at 6.30pm and tickets can be purchased through Computicket.

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