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NYS Ballet brings ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to Rochester

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The New York State Ballet is presenting “Alice in Wonderland,” coming up on October 13 at Penfield High School, in the auditorium there with shows at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

On News 8, we welcomed back Sarah Rothrock-Rickel, along with Maggie Rickel and Kayleigh Danowski from the from the New York State Ballet.

Mark: So, we know ‘Alice’ is a classic. Tell us about this staging of this classic.
Sarah: This was first done in 2016 when I first joined the Company. It’s the first ballet I choreographed on the Company. It’s such a story! This ballet is in two acts, though shorter acts because it’s accessible for children, but it’s a very big production value. There are amazing sets. We have big 14-foot doors that float through space as she goes through the Corridor of Doors. We have blue fabric that the dancers dance through in the Pool of Tears and the Tea Party is – our set designer was just brilliant. He built this huge, big table oversize so that the characters look really tiny sitting at it and their feet dangle. And the dancers can dance on the table, under the table, around the table. And one of the ways that we get on and off that table is we have a trampoline that’s dressed up like a cupcake! We have about 30, 30 dancers to do this particular production because it’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and so it needed to be big. So it’s kind of our biggest little production that we do.

Mark: Maggie, talk about the technical dancing, marrying that up with becoming the character Alice and bringing that to the stage.

Maggie: Like we said, we did it a couple of years ago, so since then our whole company has grown technically, artistically. So revisiting that character, it’s really nice to see how well I know her now, and now I can really apply harder technical things and really evolve the character even more because I know her more now. So, it’s really great revisiting it and amping it up a little bit.

Mark: And, of course, the Queen of Hearts, Kayleigh – let’s just say she can be a little cranky, right?

Kayleigh: Cranky is a great word for her!

Mark: How do you bring cranky across through dance?

Kayleigh: Well I just have so much fun with this role. I get to just kind of stomp around and I have these spikey fingers that I use, and really sharp, dynamic movements – just kind of running around the stage pretending like I’m going to cut people’s heads off, which I don’t actually do! (laughter)

Mark: Spoiler alert!

Kayleigh: It’s not very scary and ends up just being kind of humorous. It’s easy to laugh at her so it’s a lot of fun.

Mark: It sounds like it! We’re looking forward to seeing it play out on stage. As always, thank you for coming in. Good luck with it!

Again, Saturday, October 13 with performances at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available online at

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