The LakeCities Ballet Theatre’s presentation of Coppelia Friday night at the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater encompassed everything the company strives for: crisp technique, an innate sense of musicality and authentic storytelling.
Originally staged in Paris in 1870 by Arthur Saint-Leon with music by Leo Delibes, Coppelia tells the tale of soon-to-be-married Swanilda and Franz. Franz’s obsession with Coppelia who sits in the upstairs window of Dr. Coppelius’ house creates a rift with his future bride, but Swanilda is just as curious about the motionless girl. When opportunity knocks, Swanilda and her friends sneak into the house only to discover that Coppelia is actually a doll. When Dr. Coppelius returns Swanilda switches places with Coppelia to avoid getting caught. She then convinces Franz that she is really the one he loves and they live happily ever after.
Madison McKay played a delightful Swanilda. Her solid technique and intricate point work only enhanced her character’s strong, yet loveable personality. Even though her fast foot work appeared labored at times, her graceful lines and natural stage presence overshadowed all of that.
The chemistry between McKay and Pacific Northwest Ballet corps member Steven Loch (Franz) was evenly balanced. Both are powerful dancers with amazing stamina, which only enhanced the audiences’ anticipation for their pas de deux at the end of the show. We were not disappointed. Loch ate up the stage with his grande jetes and double tours en l’air while McKay dazzled with her pique turns sequence.
Guest artist Nigel Burgoine tied the whole performance together with his kooky and over-the-top interpretation of Dr. Coppelius.
Kelly Lannin and Allan Kinzie’s choreography throughout the show really played to the Company’s strengths. The group pieces in Act 1 and 3 contained a lot of fast movement taking the dancers through a maze of weaving patterns and direction changes that were both unexpected and visually pleasing. The choreographers also mixed in some adagio sequences to display the older company member’s superb control and seamless leg extensions.
The scene in Dr. Coppelius’ house opened with a view of 12 beautifully costumed, perfectly still performers posing as dolls. While the story was captivating, the audience’s attention was drawn most to the still dolls in anticipation of a grand sequence that never really happened. While there were tastes of each doll’s quirky personality and staccato way of moving with each one occasionally coming to life, we wanted to see more.
Overall it was a very well-executed performance by LakeCities Ballet Theatre. The practically flawless technique, well-thought out and clean choreography and the understated, yet effective lighting and detailed set design made for a very enjoyable evening.
◊ Katie Dravenstott is a freelance writer and dance instructor in Dallas. Visit her blog at www.kddance.wordpress.com