On Saturday, May 17, all manner of characters from cats and birds to caterpillars and teardrops will take the stage at Summit High School for the Alpine Dance Academy spring recital.
The first act of the show features the dance studio’s take on the classic children’s book “Alice in Wonderland,” starring Summit High senior Kaelin Roy as Alice.
“Each year, we pick different themes for our show,” said Kelly Monahon, director of the Alpine academy. “It kind of helps keeps the audience interested and gives the dancers motivation into the characters they are playing. Sometimes, we have up to four (themes), but this year we have two, a first half and second half. We also happen to have a perfect Alice in our senior, Kaelin Roy.”
Kaelin, 18, has been dancing for 16 years, the past five with Alpine.
“I’m really looking forward to dancing a lot with all of my friends, and I think this year we’re going to put on a really good show with the themes that we have so I’m really excited to get to do ‘Alice in Wonderland’ because it’s one of my favorites,” she said.
‘Alice in Wonderland’
Alpine presents its recitals in a slightly different format than most of the other local studios, choreographing numbers that include many levels of dancers on stage at the same time. Chloe Lofton, 5, said she’s very happy with her important role as Alice’s cat and her costume makes her feel pretty.
“I have to crawl over to Alice and wake her up,” she said. “My cat costume is purple; I have ears and a wiggly tail. I get to wake up Alice all by myself.”
“She loves being on what she calls the ‘big dance stage,’ which is the recital,” said Jennifer Lofton, Chloe’s mother. “All of the dance stages, ballet, tap, all of the kids from Level 1 up to Level 4, play different parts in ‘Alice in Wonderland.’”
Chloe’s cousin, Eli Long, 5, plays the white rabbit in the first act. Monahon said the pair is very excited about being the bunny and the kitty, “to the point where they can’t sit still.” Eli said he gets to be on the big dance stage twice, once as the rabbit and again for the final curtain call.
“I’m a white rabbit,” Eli explained. “I get to join Alice on stage and I’m the official rabbit. I feel happy in my costume. I do ballet, tap and tumbling.”
“I’m a teaching assistant for our youngest level of dancers, so I love getting to dance with them,” Kaelin said. “It’s so much fun because they are just starting and it’s so exciting to see them develop a passion for dance.”
Through her adventures in Wonderland, Alice meets many characters that the audience will recognize from the book, including the Cheshire Cat, the Blue Caterpillar, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter. She even swims in a pool of her own tears during the “Tear Ballet,” surrounded by dancers from Level 2 and Level 4 ballet classes.
Karlyn Frazier, 7, plays the role of one of the teardrops. She’s been dancing for two years and said she likes watching the other performances in ballet, jazz and tap as well as performing her own routines.
“I’m excited about doing my dances,” Karlyn said. “I’m like a tear of water and I’m dancing.”
Karlyn’s teardrop costume is all blue, with a blue skirt, blue leotard and tan tights. She is also featured as the head of the Blue Caterpillar.
“I like being on stage performing because it just makes me feel like I’m really good at dancing,” she said. “I want to tell you a little bit about my tap performance. In tap, I like being the leader and getting to be the head of the caterpillar. I feel like I’m really good because I don’t have anybody leading me, I’m memorizing it.”
After escaping from her own tears, Alice takes on a flock of birds on “Bird Island” and meets Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Monahon said she held an in-studio choreography competition to determine who would play the two iconic roles, and winners Emily Wallace and Jarelle Bjork will be presenting their winning routine at the show.
The second act
The Alpine Dance Academy spring recital includes preschoolers through high schoolers from all eight Summit County schools, the Peak School and Vail Mountain School, as well as home school students, Monahon said.
The second half of the show, “Dancing through the Decades,” explores dances ranging as far back as the Charleston, through swinging to the big bands and rocking out to the 1980s.
“We have pretty much all of our types of dance present in our recital,” Kaelin said. “It’s going to be really cool. Whatever types of dance were present in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ show up in the other half of the show.
“Kelly has done a really great job this year of making sure that every type of dance is represented in both sides of the show. It’s really going to be super interesting the whole time. We have a brand-new type of dance that’s represented, Polynesian, in the second half of the show. It’s going to be really fun this year.”
Monahon said she looks forward to seeing how much the kids have grown from year to year in their performance.
“They really come alive when they are on the stage,” she said. “The little ones are always a highlight because they are so adorable and it’s nice to see the whole studio on stage together because you can really see where the kids start and where they end in one complete story in their time with us. We do a lot of mixing of levels in all of the pieces, so you have the younger kids dancing alongside the older kids, and the parents, from what I’ve heard, enjoy watching all of the age groups together.”