We are giving away a pair of tickets to the matinee performance of Coppélia by the Pennsylvania Ballet on Saturday, May 3, at 2 pm. To enter, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “NAC Coppélia Contest” by noon Tuesday, April 29. The winner will be notified on Tuesday afternoon.
Ever since it first premiered in 1870, Coppélia has warmed the hearts of countless dance lovers from around the world. A beautiful comedic work, this ballet tells the tale of the mysterious toy maker Dr. Coppélius, who makes a life-size doll called Coppélia.
The story recounts how a young girl named Swanilda tries to befriend Coppélia, not realizing that the beautiful creature is a mere toy. Swanilda’s sweetheart Franz, meanwhile, begins to flirt with the enchanting doll, also unaware that the figurine is not human. Jealous, Swanilda quarrels with her love and accuses him of being unfaithful.
The ballet proceeds with Swanilda sneaking into Dr. Coppélius’ workshop in an attempt to unravel the mystery of Coppélia. The ensuing adventure is a funny and romantic story that has become one of the most popular works in the ballet repertoire.
Local dance enthusiasts can now see this ballet first-hand, as the Pennsylvania Ballet performs this famous work at the National Arts Centre from May 1-3.
“Coppélia is different from Swan Lake because it is light,” says Lillian Di Piazza, who will dance the role of Swanilda on May 2 and the evening of May 3. “You have to have a lighthearted style, while having a comedic sense.”
Di Piazza tells Apartment613 that Coppélia is a difficult dance to perform as the steps are very technical But what makes it particularly challenging, she says, is that the dancers must have a humourous demeanor throughout the show, which can hide how difficult the ballet is to perform.
As for the three-day run this week at the NAC, Di Piazza says she is thrilled to be performing in Ottawa, as this will be her first time ever dancing as a soloist in a full-length ballet.
“It’s very exciting, because Swanilda really carries the ballet from beginning to end,” she says in a phone interview. “At first it was a lot of pressure, but then it was just a matter of being comfortable 100% with being the lead.”
Di Piazza says that her fellow dancers are also looking forward to performing in the National Capital Region, given the extensive preparations that they have done. (The company started learning the choreography this past November, and then performed in their hometown of Philadelphia last month).
“We are excited to share our version of Coppélia with Ottawa,” she says.
The Pennsylvania Ballet performs Coppélia from May 1-3 at the National Arts Centre . Tickets start at $53.