Monday, 17 December 2018

Delibes’s tale of a ‘mechanical doll’ had audience spellbound

THE audience was spellbound throughout this delightful and enchanting evening when the company of dancers from

THE audience was spellbound throughout this delightful and enchanting evening when the company of dancers from the touring Vienna Festival Ballet brought us their interpretation of Lao Delibes’s

Coppalia
.

Choreographed by Emily Hufton after the revivals of Marius Petipa, we were taken through different settings and moods by dancers so light on their feet they made what must have been physically arduous sequences seem truly effortless.

Eccentric toymaker Dr Coppalius has created a beautiful mechanical doll called Coppalia, who amazes all the local villagers — including young couple Swanhilda and Franz.

One night they break in to Dr Coppalius’s shop, exploring the different mechanical dolls, ably and very patiently played by children from the Heidi Rhodes School of Dancing, who stayed very still and statuesque before springing to life.



Upon the toymaker’s return, Swanhilda manages to hide in the shop but Franz is caught.

Dr Coppélius casts a spell to transfer Franz’s soul to his beloved doll, which appears to work thanks to Swanhilda’s practical joke in dressing as Coppélia, in a pretty aqua and almond tulle tutu.

Swanhilda/Coppélia dances with Dr Coppélius and lots of comic capers ensue. It all ends happily, however, as Franz and Swanhilda marry, Swanhilda reimburses Dr Coppélius and the villagers celebrate.

We were swept up into this story with lots of joyous and heartfelt dancing from the troupe. Each dancer had a moment to shine and they were disciplined and elegant throughout their group performances.

Members of the audience were clapping with delight and there were well-deserved calls of “bravo!” for this great display of talent, stamina and artistry. A truly delightful production.

Natalie Aldred



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