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    Ballet on the big screen

    All the beauty, grace and magic of the ballet will soon be enjoyed on the big screen with a season of five famous ballets, thanks to a screening partnership between Cinema Nouveau and The Royal Ballet in London, launching with Alice's Adventures In Wonderland on 28 March.

    Following the success of the screening of 'live' theatre, opera and art exhibitions, lovers of the arts will now be able to enjoy wonderful 'live' ballet productions from The Royal Ballet at Cinema Nouveau theatres in Joburg (Rosebank Mall), Pretoria (Brooklyn Mall), Durban (Gateway) and Cape Town (V&A Waterfront).

    Tumble down the rabbit hole with The Royal Ballet with an exhilarating performance of choreographer Christopher Wheeldon's magical Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. His version of the ballet first arrived on the stage in 2011, with a burst of colour, theatrical magic and inventive choreography. It was The Royal Ballet's first new full-length work since 1995 and was greeted with delight by audiences.

    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, adapted from the delightful book by Lewis Carroll, releases exclusively at Cinema Nouveau from Saturday, 28 March, with limited screenings.

    Ballet on the big screen

    Girlish charm

    Exuding a girlish charm, Alice, danced by American principal Sarah Lamb, encounters a cast of extraordinary characters including the gardener's boy, Federico Bonelli, who later becomes her Knave of Hearts as they dance a tender and loving pas de deux of delicate beauty.

    There is also the highly strung Queen of Hearts, who performs a hilarious send-up of The Sleeping Beauty's famous Rose Adage, dancing playing cards, the jittery White Rabbit and the quirky tap-dancing Mad Hatter.

    But the ballet does not avoid the darker undercurrents of Lewis Carroll's story - a nightmarish kitchen, an eerily disembodied Cheshire Cat and the unhinged tea party are all created in vivid detail.

    The familiar story is reimagined with quirky designs by Bob Crowley as we follow Alice into Wonderland across a lake of tears, playing croquet with flamingos and hedgehogs, and attending the deranged tea party. Drawing upon a wealth of theatrical effects, projection and puppetry are used to visualise the grinning Cheshire Cat and the sinuous Caterpillar with his 16 legs of ballet dancers en pointe to create a mesmerising world of enchantment.

    A menagerie of colours

    A feast for the senses, Wheeldon's spectacular ballet brings to life Lewis Carroll's famous story with a menagerie of colours, characters and compelling choreography. Joby Talbot's lively score combines contemporary sound worlds with sweeping melodies that gesture to ballet scores of the 19th century, to provide the perfect accompaniment to the ballet with sparkling idiosyncrasy. Bob Crowley's wildly imaginative sets and costumes draw on puppetry, projections and masks to make Wonderland wonderfully real.

    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was the first full ballet created for the company since 1995 and premiered in 2011 with sold-out world performances. The live screening on Tuesday, 16 December was captured for release on cinema screens worldwide.

    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland releases on South African screens on Saturday, 28 March, for four screenings only - on 28 March, 1 and 2 April at 7.30pm and on 29 March at 2.30pm - at Cinema Nouveau theatres in Joburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town. Bookings are now open, and the running time of this production is 2 hours, 55 minutes (including two intervals).

    The other ballets to be screened include Swan Lake (2 May), Romeo & Juliet (6 June), La Fille mal gardée (27 June) and The Winter's Tale (8 August).

    For booking information on the Royal Ballet's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, go to www.cinemanouveau.co.za or sterkinekor.mobi. Folllow on Twitter @nouveaubuzz or on Facebook at Cinema Nouveau. Download the Ster-Kinekor App on any Nokia, Samsung Android, iPhone and Blackberry smart phones for updates, news and to book from your mobile. For queries, call TicketLine on 0861 Movies (668 437).

    Read more about other ballet, opera and live theatre on the big screen at www.writingstudio.co.za

    About Daniel Dercksen

    Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit www.writingstudio.co.za
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