Society / The Seen

Scenes from the Texas Ballet Theater’s Opening Night for ‘Alice in Wonderland’

A Dreamy, Dance-Filled Evening

BY Lauren Kandel // 06.07.23
photography Sharon Ellman

Childhood dreams came true this May as I sat and watched the extraordinary performance of Alice in Wonderland on stage at the Winspear Opera House. Alice’s story was told through the dancers at Texas Ballet Theater, choreographed by artistic director Laureate Ben Stevenson and composed by Joseph Horovitz. TBT hosted the Opening Night Dinner on May 19, 2023, in honor of their last production of the season, presented by chairs Craig Carpenter and Ambika Singhal.

Event Chairs; Ambika Singhal, Craig Carpenter (Photo by Sharon Ellman)
Event Chairs: Ambika Singhal, Craig Carpenter (Photo by Sharon Ellman)

The imaginative evening started with a cocktail hour where champagne and conversations flowed. Those who attended admired and took their very own charming photos at the Alice in Wonderland step and repeat. Decorated with hand-painted trees and silhouettes of the infamous Mad Hatters Tea Party, TBT’s step and repeat allowed guests to capture an image of the unforgettable night.

The bells chimed and we were alerted to head into the Hamon Hall for the seated dinner, a fundraising event for Texas Ballet Theater which supports the onstage and in-studio work. I was astonished at the room entirely drenched in pink lighting, creating a dreamy ambiance for the Opening Night Dinner.

Sterling Donnelly, Catherine Wall, Lauren Kandel, Cate Waco, Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, Reaghan Donnelly, Millie Whitman, Darren Aschaffenburg (Photo by Sharon Ellman)
Sterling Donnelly, Catherine Wall, Lauren Kandel, Cate Waco, Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, Reaghan, Millie, Darren Aschaffenburg (Photo by Sharon Ellman)

We were first served a mixed salad paired with a delicious herb vinaigrette, followed by herb-crusted airline chicken breast, balsamic-glazed brussel sprouts, and garlic fingerling potatoes. The meal closed with a wonderfully rich sacher torte filled with apricot jam and chocolate ganache. I had the wonderful pleasure of seeing Alice herself – performed by Alexandra F. Light – come prancing through the dinner giving attendees a sneak peek of the performance they would soon see.

As dinner concluded, we headed into the performance hall taking our seats and waiting anxiously for Alice and her friends to appear on stage. The curtains opened and Alice began her journey traveling down the rabbit hole, taking us with her into the whimsical world of Wonderland.

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