Dancers Studio going down the rabbit hole for ‘Alice’

The Chesire Cat is among characters in Dancers Studio Inc.’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

Photo provided | Tami Mohs

Whimsy caught Kinsley Kareus’ imagination when she saw her first ballet several years ago. She fell in love with the art form after seeing a performance or two of the traditional holiday classic “The Nutcracker.”

“I thought it was pretty cool just to see the dancers jumping so high,” said the 10-year-old Kareus. “I thought that was amazing.”

She will be in her whimsical element April 27 and 28 when her local Dancers Studio Inc. troupe presents a tale as fanciful as perhaps any other: “Alice in Wonderland.” Kareus, who now has been dancing at the studio for two years, sees one basic task as her biggest challenge as the dancing table and a playing card.

“It’s just mostly like remembering to look ahead in the dance (steps),” she said.

The 40-member-cast show, coordinated by artistic director Lauren Haza, will be paired with a second act consisting of Don Quixote excerpts and other pieces. Many performers are taking on multiple roles.

A rehearsal scene from Dancers Studio Inc.’s “Alice in Wonderland,” which will be presented April 27-28 at Judson Erne Auditorium.

Photo provided | Tami Mohs

The dancers just presented an abbreviated version of their production of “Alice in Wonderland” at a recent First Fridays for Families performance before an estimated 300 people at The Commons in downtown Columbus.

“They’ve always told us (at the organizing Columbus Area Arts Council) that we have maybe the biggest crowd ever,” said Andrea Davis, Dancers Studio Inc.’s executive director. “It serves as a really good dress rehearsal and kind of good way for the kids to get on stage and kind of get used to the show and the crowd.”

The nonprofit troupe has presented the fairy tale off and on through the years since it has been an audience favorite. In the past, such performances have attracted about 400 people at Judson Erne Auditorium locally.

The cast’s preparations have included disciplined, three-hour rehearsals recently on Saturdays.

Fourteen-year-old Graham Wheeler plays the King of Hearts, the co-ruler of Wonderland. He has just one royal, understandable wish for those who attend the performance.

“I definitely want them to be entertained,” Wheeler said. “I certainly wouldn’t want them to think that it’s boring.”

He chuckled.

“And I want them to laugh.”

You know — at the whimsy.

Kareus presented another perspective.

“Actually,” she said, “I want people to think, ‘Oh, they’re pretty good. I wonder how much practice it took?’”

About the show

Who: Dancers Studio Inc. presenting “Alice in Wonderland,” plus excerpts from “Don Quixote” and other works.

When: 2 p.m. April 27-28.

Where: Judson Erne Auditorium, 1400 25th St. in Columbus.

Information and tickets: and also at Viewpoint Books and at the door.