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True Dance & Company premieres 'Alice in Wonderland' ballet
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True Dance & Company premieres 'Alice in Wonderland' ballet

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'Alice in Wonderland' ballet cast

(From left) Josie Filmore, "Alice"; Maggie Oulianova,"The Queen of Hearts"; Whitney Tomes, "The Mad Hatter”; and Elizabeth Friend, "The White Rabbit."

"Alice in Wonderland" premiered at the Lied Center of Performing Arts May 27-28. Lincolnite Shari True, well-known choreographer of children's ballets, created this original version based on the classic tale written by Lewis Carroll in 1865.

Characters fell down the rabbit hole in a twisted adventure, as "Alice," danced by Josie Filmore, 18, of Lincoln, journeyed through the dreamlike magical wonderland presented by True Dance & Company in this 2021 adaptation.

With a cast of over 120 area dancers, the ballet featured Whitney Tomes, 16, of Pius X High School as the mysterious "Mad Hatter," Elizabeth Friend, a junior at Lincoln Christian, playing the frantic "White Rabbit" role, and Maggie Oulianova, 17, dancing the fierce "Queen of Hearts."

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, played by Ayla Brosman and Grace Fry, were showstoppers as the silly pair who met Alice and took her to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. The ballet featured many scenes both breathtaking and hilarious as tiny mushrooms danced, colorful hedgehogs tumbled and the march of the cards feared the ruthless Queen.

Other featured roles included Olivia Lempka, 18, as the “Cheshire Cat,” Phoenix Decker, 13, as the “Caterpillar,” and Ansley Sothan, 17, Lena Lankas, 17, and Arianna Cunningham 14, as Prim Rose, Lilac and Ivy dancing in the “Garden of Living Flowers.”

Arianna Cunningham and Livi Bonnie, members of True’s YAGP program, were selected for the finals of the Youth American Grand Prix, a prestigious, classical ballet competition held last April in Tampa, Florida.

Along with the premiere of “Alice in Wonderland,” the May 27 performance included a “Tribute to Mary Poppins” with TDC’s academy dancers. The May 28 performance included TDC’s Company Showcase, a celebration of 2021 competition team dances.

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