Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Lee Garver


How can classical ballet adapt to a world that is in an ever more rapid state of flux? By uncovering an example of the kind of interdisciplinary artistic collaboration that contributed to the thriving artistic environment of the early twentieth century, a model for artistic success emerges. By examining modernism and Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in relation to Christopher Wheeldon’s groundbreaking 2011 ballet Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a correlation between the success of the Ballets Russes and the success of Wheeldon is exposed. I argue that by applying the modernist practice of interdisciplinary interaction to his own productions, Wheeldon has equipped ballet to survive in a dramatically changing artistic world, reach a wider audience, and, as Ezra Pound put it nearly eighty years ago, “make it new.”