Karen Flamenco Dance Academy
Alice in Wonderland

Dates and Venue July 4, 2015 at 8pm, July 5,2015 at 2pm | Vancouver Playhouse, Hamilton St.

Director Karen Pitkethly Costume Coordinator Dawn Padget Choreography Karen Pitkethly, Fiona Malena, Patricia Guerrero, Cristina Benitez, Savannah Fuentes Musicians Davide Sampaolo, Liron Man, Marekito, Jafelin Helten (vocals)

Reviewer Nancie Ottem

Against the storyline of Alice in Wonderland, The Karen Flamenco Dance Academy strutted their stuff on the stage of the Vancouver Playhouse last night. Opening with a tea party being hosted by Alice’s mother, Alice falls into a dream world of fanciful characters who showcase the considerable talents of the Karen Flamenco Dance Academy.

At the party there is a photographer who magically turns into the White Rabbit in Alice’s dream world. Played by Gerardo Avila, the Rabbit entices Alice down the rabbit hole and into the world of flamenco dance. Using narration by Robyn Ross and the skills of Avila as a magician/actor the numbers in this production seamlessly move through the evening. However, at 3 hours it was long.

With few props and use of video background imagery, the world of Alice in Wonderland came to life. Highlights included Silks performed by Kieran Woolfe; Go Ask Alice, a beautifully costumed fan dance; Tea Party, a rousing table dance number; The Queen’s Courtroom with its dramatic red fan ending and of course Baby Oysters which was just delightful and brought a smile to the whole audience.

The evening showcased many of the traditions within flamenco dance with numbers featuring fans, castanets and table dancing. The choreography of hand movement brought a dramatic effect to many numbers, coupled with the skilled foot work the world of flamenco dance seemed very real last night. Jafelin Helten with her powerful vocals and the musicians, Sampaolo, Man and Marekito gave the dancers the momentum needed to carry them through the demanding program. Thalia Hernandes-De Paoli as Tweedle Dee and Veronica Hernandes-De Paoli as Tweedle Dum stood out as did Alice, played by Yeva Morenets.

© 2015 Nancie Ottem