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Six stellar Queen City Ballet seniors to shine in 'Alice in Wonderland' and beyond

Six stellar Queen City Ballet seniors to shine in 'Alice in Wonderland' and beyond
Posted at 4:31 PM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 18:32:04-04

HELENA — Saturday and Sunday, Queen City Ballet Company will be putting on their spring show, "Alice in Wonderland".

This will be Queen City Ballet’s Artistic Director, Campbell Midgley’s third time putting on Alice in Wonderland.

“I think the story of Alice is really intriguing and fun, and gives you a lot of artistic liberties. And so I think as a choreographer, and as a teacher, educator and artistic director, I feel like that it's just a natural fit. My director from Houston Ballet did one of the first Alice in Wonderlands in the late 80s…. And I just was always fascinated with it,” she said.

She put on the show in 2005 and 2007, but after her colleagues at Colorado International Ballet put on Alice in 2018, she knew she had to do it differently and bigger than before. Her costume and sets borrowed from Colorado make this performance about a $60,000 production.

Not only is Midgley extremely proud of the set design and costumes in her production, but of her dancers, some that have been with her since they were toddlers.

It’s no secret that dancers are extremely disciplined when it comes to their schedules and time management; but this specific group of senior dancers ready to take on professional and collegiate careers have impressive aspirations.

Queen City Ballet graduating seniors:

  • Elinor Goehring, who plays Alice, she’ll be attending Hollins University pursuing majors in Dance and English. 
  • Katya Volodina will play the Lead Flamingo
  • Sam Stutz, playing the White Rabbit, is headed to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts to major in classical ballet. 
  • Lizzie Johnson, Queen of Hearts, will be getting her getting my BFA in Musical Theater from Montclair State University
  • Brooke Woodmansey, Round Card Lead, will be attending St. Mary's University in the Mayo Clinic's physician assistant program while still pursuing ballet
  • Kaitlyn Ruch, who plays The Dutchess, and also serves as the Distinguished Young Woman of Montana, will attend Carroll College and double major in Communications and Catholic Studies

They are also all members of the National Honors Society for Dance Arts. Part of being an NHS member is volunteering, which Midgley says helped keep them open during the pandemic.

“They volunteer their time helping with the younger kids' classes, which has been instrumental in keeping us open during COVID. Because our lobbies are closed to the outside and to parents and it's been quite an operation, and I couldn't do it without these kids having helped me these last two years,” she said.

Midgley says “going into the unknown is part of life”. She helps her dancers prepare by giving them roles that they are capable of, but also pushes them artistically and gets them out of their comfort zones.

For Goehring (Alice), she has to challenge herself to be younger, much younger. Alice is commonly known to be seven years old.

“Trying to bring a lot of youth and joyfulness into the character has been a struggle when I've recently played characters, they've been kind of more serious, very just like “ballerina” and Alice is definitely more of a character. So but I think I embody her through her adventurous spirit, I hope,” Goehring said.

For Katya Volodina, who plays the care-free, outcast, Lead Flamingo, her time training for the role was anything but care-free.

“You know, a lot of technique training this one is. It looks simple, but it is very hard. And you do lots of turns. And you have to have a lot of point strength as well. But I also prepare by preparing like my acting, and you know, really focusing on what would this character think in this exact moment? And how would she react to this,” she said.

Tickets for the weekend's performances are on sale now.