Recently, a friend posted a snipped of a ballet on Facebook that immediately sent me scrambling to find its source. The dance turned out to be from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. First debuted in 2011, it was England’s Royal Ballet’s first original full-length work since 1995 and was an instant hit. Featuring a score by Joby Talbo, the ballet has a strong basis in classical ballet while showing wonderfully dramatic surprises and, at times, the brilliantly weird pacing of modern ballets like the Firebird Suite.
While I wasn’t able to watch the entire ballet on YouTube, The Royal Ballet happily has a really robust YouTube presence, and there were loads of excerpts in among the behind-the-scenes featurettes to keep me happy. And I eventually realized a televised version of The Royal Ballet’s full production is available on Amazon!
First up is the amazing video that got my attention. It’s a brilliant parody of the iconic Rose Adagio from Sleeping Beauty where Aurora dances with each of the eligible men. In this version, the Queen of Hearts bullies and terrorizes the playing cards in her court to dance with her. It’s brilliant and funny and absolutely the best thing I’ve seen all year, and I’m going to be watching it over and over again.
NOTE: The first video is on Facebook because I don’t seem to be able to find this version on YouTube. This is Zenaida Yanowsky, the ballerina who originated the role in 2011, and I like it much better than the later version on The Royal Ballet’s YouTube channel. If you only watch one video, make it this one. As wonderful as the rest of the ballet is, without the Queen of Hearts, it would really be missing something.