Our Subject Scout, Sarah Gomes Munro, visited AUB Performances’ ‘What Would Alice Do?’, a dance performance. Here’s what she had to say…

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What indeed would Alice do?

Who do you want to be when you grow up?

What would anyone do when faced with a choice?

It is a cliché but actions speak louder than words and that is exactly what the 2nd year of the BA (Hons) Dance crew showed us during their performance. In a deconstruction of Alice from Wonderland we got to see not only that she contains multitudes (every dancer on the floor was Alice) but every decision she made carved a bit more out of her and defined her character a little bit more.

We meet Alice as a perfectly well behaved young girl who knows the rules and follows them, then she starts to experiment with them, then she’s off being an entirely new person and before she knows it she’s been sucked into Wonderland by her own curiosity. Wonderland is both strange, beautiful and scary. Faced with her own reflections she must once again decide whether or not she has made the right choice in going down there. The dances range from a light-hearted tea party to a terrifying chess game, but one thing is constant throughout: Alice discovers who she is with every twist of her body.

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From a technical viewpoint the performance was also a delight. The Alice costumes were unusual with hidden bright colours and the few props on stage were oversized which further emphasised Alice’s youth. The 10 weeks of rehearsal and creation paid off wonderfully and it was great to find out that the show was choreographed not only by the course leader but the students themselves. In fact, the lighting was also designed by some of the dancers as well as there being a costume and make up team backstage ready to keep the show running smoothly. Student involvement in performances elevate them as they become that much more personal.

As the viewer you get given a silent narrative that you piece together as you go along, the more you watch the more you recognise that Alice is just a girl who was born different and cannot hide it. The whole show is modern, not only due the contemporary style but also the message being passed for it concludes with Alice defying the rules, changing the routine everyone expects her to perform by embracing her truer inner voices and coming together as a whole. All thirteen Alices standing still in unison and looking up at what Life is going to bring is a powerful image that burns right into your head as the lights dim.

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