Through the Looking-Glass balklet by John Craton

Based on the story by Lewis Carroll, the ballet follows Alice on her chimeric journey through the looking-glass and back again. The ballet, as the book, is more a series of vignettes as Alice crosses the chessboard than it is a continuous narrative, though it endeavors as much as possible to remain true to the original tale. The ballet premiered on 7 May 2011 by members of Kat’s Performing Arts Studio in Bedford, Indiana.


Alice is seen in her parlor, playing with a kitten. She steps through the looking-glass into a land of wonder and immediately encounters the living clock and chess pieces. She finds the book “Jabberwocky,” and the tale is acted out before her. Following this segment, Alice proceeds to encounter the live flowers, the looking-glass insects, and a host of other fanciful characters from the book. After meeting Humpty Dumpty, the ballet takes a slightly different turn from the book as it is not possible to represent some of the extensive dialogue and poetic sections in dance. Instead an interlude is introduced in which the White King and White Queen dance a gavotte for Alice. Later, when she encounters the Red Knight, she is taken prisoner by him. She is then freed by the White Knight who points her in the direction she needs to go to complete her quest. Arriving at her destination, Alice finds all the cast assembled and is crowned queen. A Grand Valse is danced in celebration until the Red Queen comes forth to challenge Alice’s legitimacy. The Red Queen eventually snatches the crown from Alice’s head, making her rather angry. Alice begins shaking the Red Queen violently when the Red Queen turns into a kitten and Alice suddenly finds herself back in her parlor where her adventures began — it had all been a dream. The ballet concludes with Alice looking thoughtfully into the looking-glass.

(in order of appearance)

Alice Tweedledum
Kitten Tweedledee
Clock Humpty Dumpty
Chess set White King
Jabberwock White Queen
Knight Red Knight
Flowers White Knight
Insects Red Queen

Ballet Segments & Audio Files

(Audio files are Sibelius playback)

  1.  Looking-Glass House
  2.  Jabberwocky
  3.  Promenade I
  4.  The Garden of Live Flowers
  5.  Looking-Glass Insects
  6.  Promenade II
  7.  Tweedledum and Tweedledee
  8.  Promenade III
  9.  Humpty Dumpty
10.  The White King’s Gavotte
11.  Alice Alone
12.  Red Knight, White Knight
13.  Farewell & Promenade IV
14.  Queen Alice & Finale


The ballet is scored for 2 flutes (1 doubling on piccolo), oboe, Bb clarinet/bass clarinet, bassoon/contrabassoon, 2 horns in F, Bb trumpet, strings, and percussion. Percussion battery includes timpani, orchestral bells, triangle, cymbals, gong, marimba, rattle, tenor drum(s), and tambourine. Total length: appoximately 31 minutes. Score is available on request. Please contact the composer for more information.

Photos from the 7 May 2011 premiere


Photos copyright © 2011 by B&C Digital Media Productions. Used by permission.

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