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Casting announced for Wheeldon’s new Alice

Posted on October 19, 2010

lauren cuthbertson alicesadventures in wonderland photo by jason bellThe Royal Ballet has announced principal casting for Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a new full-length ballet based on Lewis Carroll’s book.

The ballet opens on February 28, 2011, with Lauren Cuthbertson, our October cover girl, as Alice. The other leading roles give hints on Wheeldon’s approach to the ballet. They are all double roles, with the same dancer appearing as a character in Wonderland and as someone from Alice’s everyday life. In the first cast, Zenaida Yanowsky appears as Alice’s Mother and The Red Queen. Sergei Polunin dances Jack/The Knave of Hearts. Most revealingly, Edward Watson doubles The White Rabbit with Lewis Carroll, making Wonderland’s original creator part of the ballet’s story. This cast dance again on March 2 and 9.

On March 3 and 10, Alice will be danced by Sarah Lamb, with Federico Bonelli as Jack/The Knave of Hearts, Jonathan Howells as Lewis Carroll/The White Rabbit and Tamara Rojo as Alice’s Mother/The Red Queen. On March 15, Marianela Nuñez dances Alice, with Rupert Pennefather as Jack/The Knave of Hearts and other roles to be confirmed.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the actor Simon Russell Beale has confirmed that he will dance the Duchess in Wheeldon’s Alice. This will be Russell Beale’s first appearance in a dance production, but he did do some spectacular comic dancing in the National Theatre’s recent production of Dion Boucicault’s London Assurance, complete with real entrechats.

Picture: Lauren Cuthbertson in Oxford. Photograph by Jason Bell.

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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