On Friday night, Studio West Dance Academy presents its first production of Coppélia, about a silly young man who falls in love with a mechanical doll until his clever fiancée shows him the error of his ways.
Like The Nutcracker, the companys holiday staple, the ballet is a perennial favorite, said Stephanie Wood, co-owner of the school and who choreographed the ballet with Studio Wests Marianna Ramsour.
It was first choreographed in 1870, Wood said. Its one of the oldest ballets thats still being performed in companies across the world, mainly I think because it reaches out to the audience.
Its interesting to me that it was never a Disney movie, because it has the feel of a Disney story, like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. Its about love and friendship, and theres lots of comedy.
What is fun about the character of Franz is that hes kind of goofy and hes a little silly, said Joseph Jefferies, who is dancing the role and has played the prince in Studio Wests The Nutcracker the past two years. A lot of times I have to play a prince, and its very serious.
The Studio West production of the ballet has been mostly double cast; about 80 dancers are involved. Nicole Carson, a senior at Olympia High School, and Kinsey Love, a junior at North Thurston High School, are sharing the role of Swanhilde, who wins the foolish Franz despite his crush on the doll Coppélia.
The production features costumes and sets rented from the Eugene (Ore.) Ballet, which also sold the company the costumes and sets for The Nutcracker.
The sets just arrived on Sunday, Wood said. Theyre beautiful.
Jefferies, who danced with Wood at Ballet Memphis in Tennessee, just arrived, too, although he visited Olympia in February to learn the role. Hes been rehearsing here only since Monday evening.
The ballet has a few more similarities to The Nutcracker. Both are based on stories by E.T.A. Hoffman, and the character of Dr. Coppélius, who makes the mechanical dolls, is quite similar to that of Herr Drosselmeyer, who gives Clara the nutcracker that launches her fantastic voyage.