Alice in Danceland

Fabio Ciambella


The purpose of this paper is to present an unexplored case study in the field of the studies on adaptation: the dance in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) by Lewis Carroll and its transformations during the transmodalization. In particular the two most popular film adaptations of the novel of the Victorian writer will be presented and analysed: the cartoon produced by Disney in 1951 and the 2010 film directed by the Californian director Tim Burton.

If in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Carroll introduce a dance performed by some lobsters (precisely in chapter X that is titled "The Lobster Quadrille"), in the Disney's masterpiece there is no trace either of lobsters, turtles or griffins. Paradoxically, dancing in the cartoon is a recurring motif, which is the background to the vicissitudes of the protagonist from the beginning to the end.

The viewer of Burton’s Alice will be even much more shocked by the presence of the dance in two specific moments of the film – at the beginning and at the end – which are not present nor in the hypotext, nor in its Twentieth-century adaptation. In other words, although the dance is present in the three works, it never appears at the same time.


film adaptation; Disney; Tim Burton; Alice in Wonderland; dance

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