Coppélia - Magic of Dance
Duprada Dance Company takes their place on the Araluen Arts Centre stage this month, presenting their final production of the year, Coppélia. Not only is it a showcase for the company, but a vehicle of reflection and nostalgia, and a wonderful learning opportunity to boot.
By Hannah Muir
Renowned as a masterpiece, and the last of the Romantic ballets, it centres around lonely old alchemist Dr Coppélious, who brings his beautiful doll Coppélia to life, tricking the villagers into believing she is his real daughter. But when village youth Franz becomes infatuated with the lifelike doll, it creates chaos with his fiancé Swanilda and her friends.
The light-hearted tale is a wonderful opportunity for the whole company to work together, especially for the youngsters who gain a new understanding of performing.
“We like them to understand why they are learning ballet – learning ballet is obviously very different to being on stage, and part of a story,” says Duprada Artistic Director Lynne Hanton.
“They come to ballet all the time but it’s not often they get to see other students, they only see their own class. They’re inspired by seeing the whole company rehearse and, in particular, the ballet company members, most of whom are their teachers.”
While the end-of-year production provides an air of excitement and learning for Duprada’s youngest dancers, for those that have grown up with the company, it presents a moment of reflection.
“My 18-year-old’s look at the level fours, who are only six or seven, and remember what it was like to be that age doing their first production with the ballet company. That’s inspiring for them as well. They look at costumes they may have worn in the past, and the little ones look at costumes they may wear in the future.”
For Hanton, it’s important to stay as true to the original choreography as possible, to give the dancers the best understanding of the artform.
“The artistic side of it is very important … We do the big story ballets because they deserve it and they are historical as well, so the kids are learning about the history of the story, too.”