Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet presents "Alice in Wonderland"


The Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet, under the artistic direction of Jennifer Beasley, will present the fairytale ballet “Alice in Wonderland” at Jackson Academy Performing Arts Center at 2 and 7 pm on March 23 and at 2 pm on March 24. With choreography by award-winning choreographer Charles Maple, the ballet is an action-packed adventure with all the wacky and wonderful characters from the beloved childhood classic: from the White Rabbit to the Queen of Hearts to the Mad Hatter. The ballet will feature more than 80 dancers from the metro-Jackson area. Patrons will have the opportunity to take tea with the Mad Hatter himself at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, following the matinee performances.

The Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet (MMB) is a non-profit regional ballet company that has made its home in Madison since 1992. The company has established a tradition of presenting a full- length fairytale ballet each spring, with previous productions including “Cinderella”, “The Little Mermaid”, “The Wizard of Oz”, “Frozen Heart: The Tale of the Snow Queen”, and “Beauty and the Beast.” The company also presents its annual production of “The Nutcracker” each December at the Jackson Academy Performing Arts Center. MMB is the only ballet company in Mississippi that is a member of Regional Dance America, a national organization that seeks to promote and elevate the art of dance throughout the nation. The dancers of MMB are chosen by audition from the company’s affiliated school, the Mississippi Metropolitan Dance Academy (MMDA).

MMB first presented Charles Maple’s “Alice in Wonderland” in 2019.  “His version of the ballet is so inventive, so visually stunning, and so entertaining,” says Beasley. “In 2019, we were determined to bring his ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to Mississippi so that both our dancers and our audience could experience his unique take on the adventure down the rabbit hole. Our performances in 2019 were a huge success, and we are thrilled to bring this ballet back to the stage in 2024. ” Maple is a former dancer with New York’s famed American Ballet Theatre where he performed alongside ballet greats Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova and worked with famous choreographers George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Twyla Tharp. After a 20-year career as a dancer, Maple began choreographing and working with the Pasadena Dance Theatre in his home state of California. Since that time, Maple has won numerous awards for his choreography, which has been presented throughout the United States and abroad, and he also established his own school and company in Irvine, California, the Maple Youth Ballet.

Maple’s version of “Alice in Wonderland '' is based on Lewis Caroll’s famous stories Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and was first presented by the Maple Youth Ballet in 2011. The ballet matches opulent costumes, sumptuous scenery, and a stunning array of special effects with comic charm and virtuoso dancing. Audiences will be captivated as Alice follows the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole, takes tea with the eccentric Mad Hatter, teases Tweedledee and Tweedledum, meets the Cheshire Cat, and stands up to the infamous Queen of Hearts, all in an action- packed dream world brought to life through the magic of dance. “This is a ballet that will surprise and delight audiences young and old,” says Crystal Skelton, MMB Artistic Associate. “This ‘Alice’ goes beyond the classic fairy tale in terms of cleverness, humor, and originality. When the final curtain comes down, the audience will likely all be smiling like the Cheshire Cat!”

Featured MMB dancers in the production include Rebecca Trowbridge, a senior at Madison Ridgeland Academy, in the lead role of Alice; Emily Garner, a junior at Madison Central High School, as the Cheshire Cat; Hart Maley, a senior at Jackson Prep, as the Queen of Hearts; Sophia Huang, a junior at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, as the White Rabbit; Grace Gardner, a junior at Germantown High School as the Cook and the Butterfly; Annalyse Binkley, a junior at Northwest Rankin High School, as the Tiger Lily and the March Hare; and Eleanora Ellis, a senior at Northwest Rankin High School, as the Duchess. Daniel Prewitt, a former dancer with Ballet Magnificat, will perform the iconic role of the Mad Hatter. William Johnson, a native of Clinton, will appear as the rollerblading Queen’s Executioner, a character that is one of many wacky, unexpected elements in what is definitely not your average ballet.

Audiences can enhance their experience in Wonderland by making plans to attend the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, which will follow both of the matinee performances. Embark on a whimsical journey with your family as you step into the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet's Wonderland -themed tea! Immerse yourselves in the enchanting world of Alice, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, and many more of the delightful characters, all bedecked in their finest costumes. Guests will capture cherished memories by posing for photos alongside the beloved characters from the ballet. Refreshments will be provided by CW Organics & Tea Room, Chick-Fil-A, and Nothing Bundt Cakes Madison & Flowood.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.msmetroballet.com or by calling 601-853-4508.

Performance tickets range from $30-35 and tea party tickets are $25 each (sold separately). Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet is generously sponsored in its 2023-24 season by the Mississippi Arts Commission, Entergy, the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MS, Cadence Bank, The Larry & Michael Johnson Family Foundation, Harper, Raines, Knight & Co, and Century Club Charities.