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Laura Austin Photo / Dancers from the Intermediate and Advanced Ballet classes at Sierra Academy of Dance posed during a rehearsal where they got to try on their costumes. You may notice Alice, The Red Queen and The White Rabbit among them.

Academy of Dance to present ‘Alice in Wonderland’

By LAURA QUEZADA News Review Staff Writer–
There is a lot of excitement in the air at Sierra Academy of Dance as they prepare for their production of Alice in Wonderland as reimagined by Artistic Director Cate DeMin as a steampunk ballet. Auditions were held early in September and dances, characters, and costumes have been in the works in the hopes that they would be able to perform at the Cerro Coso Community College Lecture Center. This week they received confirmation that they have the venue and with six weeks until they open the excitement and energy are palpable.

The ballet is scheduled for two weekends: January 13, 14 and 20, 21. The second weekend always sells out so get your tickets early to be among the first to see this original production on their opening weekend. Tickets go on sale on December 10 at Red Rock Books. They make great stocking stuffers.

Laura Austin Photo /
Familiar characters come to life: Megan Anderson as the Joker, Jamie Louer as a Spanish card, Rachel Wetzel as the Mad Hatter, Riley Williams as the Red Queen

DeMin is known for her original works and beautifully executed ballets with every detail painting a picture. It is almost a shame to term them “recitals;” they are quite professional. Although she is the driving force, she recruits highly regarded professionals to participate. 

“Tristan Kratz is the best drama teacher I’ve ever met. She works with teenagers and pulls off high quality performances,” says DeMin. “She is going to teach my dancers how to act without words and without song, using only their body language.”

Opera singer Elizabeth Pomazal is lending her talents to makeup and costumes. She and a team of volunteers will be adding special make up to the dancers. Look for that during Act Two.

Sierra Sands Computer Paraprofessional Leisha Wetzel is on hand. Her official title for the production is Stage Manager, but she is so much more. DeMin tells us, “She is doing costumes, music. She’s in the middle directing kids around so I can do my job and making sure my head stays on my head on my neck.”

Laura Austin Photo /
Jamie Louer prepares to pirouette.

This will be the first time the Academy dances on a theatrical stage since Parker Performing Arts closed for public use. DeMin has yet to learn all of its capabilities and is still looking for folks who know technical theater to optimize whatever is available at the lecture center. However, she is familiar with the steep slant of audience seating and is choreographing to make sure it is an optimal visual treat. “We’ve created the show for the audience perspective.

“I’m loving the show because I’m using music from the 1800s. Costumes patterned after the 1800s and choreography created in the 1800s. Really, at least 75% of choreography is original choreography from 200 years ago.” Some  of the choreographers are Petipa, Reisinger and Perrot; and the composers include Mozart, Strauss, and Tchaikovsky.

DeMin has a way of blending the littlest dancers into her productions. We can look forward to seeing the babies as Tea Cups, little ones as Bumblebees, Magic Mushrooms, and Oysters. Intermediate dancers are Playing Cards, Lilacs, Daisies and Roses. Advanced dancers are Playing Cards, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, Mock Turtle, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, The Cheshire Cat and the Caterpillar. Two eight-year-old dancers share the title role of Alice.

Sierra Academy of Dance is located at 1008 Kyle Ct, Ridgecrest off of Richmond Road.