The Maroon

Dance theater presents “Down the Rabbit Hole”

Local dance theater partners with Loyola alumnus to create an “Alice in Wonderland” themed productio

Kabrena+Robinson+as+the+Cheshire+Cat+in+Chard+Gonzalez%E2%80%99s+dance+adaptation+of+Lewis+Carroll%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%9CAlice+in+Wonderland.%E2%80%9D
Kabrena Robinson as the Cheshire Cat in Chard Gonzalez’s dance adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

Kabrena Robinson as the Cheshire Cat in Chard Gonzalez’s dance adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

GREY CROSS/COURTESY OF CHARD GONZALEZ DANCE THEATER

GREY CROSS/COURTESY OF CHARD GONZALEZ DANCE THEATER

Kabrena Robinson as the Cheshire Cat in Chard Gonzalez’s dance adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

MELANIE POTTER and MELANIE POTTER

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The Chard Gonzalez Dance Theater invites you to play the role of Alice and step down into the rabbit hole for a whimsical experience.

“Down the Rabbit Hole,” an abstract take on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” is choreographed by Chard Gonzalez with music composed by Loyola alumnus Shane Courville. The show premieres March 8 at the Marigny Opera House. Gonzalez wanted the performance to engage the

audience in a special way.

“I really want the audience to play the part of Alice. They will experience all of the whimsical adventures that Alice does, all through music and dance,”

Gonzalez said.

Courville, an ’01 graduate,

adds his own magic to Gonzalez’s production with the composition he has created. He will be conducting a folk band and soprano vocalist for “Down the Rabbit Hole.” Courville will play original music, along with an arrangement based on David del Tredici’s “An Alice Symphony.”

Courville is currently an elementary school music teacher in New Orleans East. He is also working on a minimalist composition inspired by the cajun music of his upbringing.

“The major skill that the Jesuits and Loyola gave me was recognizing that my talents weren’t just for me, but were for everyone. It has driven my life since,” Courville said.

Courville said he is honored

to be a part of this CGDT production.

Choreographer Gonzalez is especially excited to premiere “Down the Rabbit Hole” because of a childhood fascination with “Alice in Wonderland.”

“Growing up as a young boy in southern California, I always thought that Alice lived in Disneyland. From age five on, I was obsessed with finding Alice in Wonderland, a.k.a. Disneyland,” Gonzalez said.

He said that while the show will be fantastical, it won’t be “Disney-fied.”

Gonzalez’s dance company started rehearsing for their big premiere in January.

“There are 18 dancers in the show. They range from high school age to 45 years old,” Gonzalez said.

About half of the dancers in the production come from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, a pre-professional arts training center for middle and high school students.

Three of Gonzalez’s former dancers are currently students at Loyola. While these women are not in “Down the Rabbit Hole,” they all had great things to say about Gonzalez.

Mass communication freshman Morgan Ballard learned from Gonzale and his unique approach to teaching.

“As his student, he allowed me

to figure things out on my own but gave me direction. In my 15 years of dance, my favorite piece I’ve ever been a part of was one he choreographed,” Ballard said.

Ballard said that she definitely plans on seeing “Down the Rabbit Hole.” She doesn’t know what to expect from Gonzalez, though, because each performance is so unique.

Mass communication sophomore Jade Below appreciates Gonzalez’s no- nonsense approach to dance.

“Chard is a very direct teacher. He pushed me out of my comfort zone all the time. I know so much more than the average dancer thanks to him,” Below said.

Through Gonzalez’s vision,

the Marigny Opera House will be transformed into the rabbit hole Alice falls into, described at the beginning of Carroll’s novel. With the combination of Courville’s music and Gonzalez’s choreography, “Down the Rabbit Hole” is a highly anticipated production.

“Chard’s definitely the best teacher I’ve ever had and I have a

lot of respect for him,” psychology freshman Katie McCusker said. “He changed the way I see dance, as well as art in general.”

“Down the Rabbit Hole” runs March 8-9 at 8 p.m.and March 10 at 2 p.m. at the Marigny Opera House.

Melanie Potter can be reached at [email protected]

Christopher Forsyth plays the Mad Hatter in “Down the Rabbit Hole.” The show turns “Alice in Wonderland” into a dance spectacular. (GREY CROSS/COURTESY OF CHARD GONZALEZ DANCE THEATER)

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Dance theater presents “Down the Rabbit Hole”