If you are a fan of Classical Ballet, I have a suggestion for today. Forget the Kegs and Eggs. Forget the Irish Coffee. Forget the Parade. Forget the Corned Beef Sandwich. Well, ok…you can have a corned beef sandwich but only if you grab one on the way to the Beck Center for the Arts to see Coppélia being performed at the Recital Hall of the Music Armory Building located at the south end of the parking lot behind the Beck Center for the Arts main campus building.
The cast is made up of fifty young dancers from the Beck Center Education Program and Dance Workshop. Do let their age belie the fact that this is one extremely talented group. It is a cute story that is a perfect undertaking for this talented group of dancers.
Coppélia is a real doll. No really, I mean it… she is a REAL doll invented by a slightly crazy inventor, Doctor Coppelius who for some unexplainable reason stores Coppélia in the front window of his shop facing the street. Enter a village lad, Franz, who sees the doll and falls in love in spite of the fact that he is already engaged to Swanhilda who catches Franz all cow eye and throwing kisses to the doll.
Swanhilda takes the liberty of breaking into the Doctor’s apartment with her cohorts and upon seeing the collection of five “mechanical” dolls (Russian, Chinese, Scottish Spanish and Coppélia) decide to have some fun making the dolls dance for their amusement. That is, all except Coppéla. The poor doll is robbed of her tutu by Swanhilda who then ditches the life size stringless marionette and takes her place. Franz gets up the nerve to pursue his love of Coppélia/Swanhilda only to have Doctor Coppelius find them and all hecks breaks loose. This, in a nutshell, is the story of Coppélia. Well, almost…there is a happy ending but you will have to attend to see it.
Using classical dances of traditional Europe such as the Mazurka, Czardas and the Waltz this family friendly classic will appeal to all including the young and young at heart.
Of special note are the principle dancers. The role of Swanhilda alternates between high school seniors Taylor Gerrasch and Julia Horner. At the Saturday 4:00 p.m. performance it was Julia Horner in the female lead. The role of Franz is danced by Beck Center education faculty member, Jason Wang, who is a veteran dancer with Verb Ballet, the Cincinnati Ballet and the Louisville Ballet. Although not a dancer in the purest sense, Timothy J. Allen has the nod to play Doctor Coppelius who is a Beck Center favorite male lead from such shows as “Fiddler on the Roof”, and “Little Shop of Horrors”.
But I want to talk more about the lead dancers. They are nothing short of great. Classical Ballet demands certain disciplines and moves that cannot be substituted or altered in any way. These dancers are the real deal. Their pax de duex is exquisite. It makes your heart swell seeing such dedication and hard work. As for the rest of the cast…fantastic. From the youngest dancer to the oldest (and we are not talking that old) you can see the hours of hard work that has gone into this work. The teachers, parents and students are to be congratulated on a job well done.
Original choreography was created by Marius Petipa and includes additional choreography by Melanie Szucs who serves as the associate director of Dance Education at the Beck Center for the Arts.
The last two performances of this delightful example of local classical ballet will be today (Sunday March 17) at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Seating is limited and tickets are available for sale now (although you might have to fight some family members for a seat to the show.
Reserved seating tickets for Coppélia are $10 for children (18 and under) and $12 for adults and seniors. Purchase tickets online at beckcenter.org or call Customer Service at 216.521.2540, ext. 10. Beck Center for the Arts is located at 17801 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. Free onsite parking is available.
So if you would like a safe, cultured and wonderful experience this St. Patrick’s Day come see Coppélia at the Beck Center, and yes, it’s ok if you want to wear a bit o’ the green for the occasion. No one will mind.
Beck Center’s production of Coppélia is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and is also sponsored by the Ohio Arts Council
Beck Center for the Arts is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization that offers professional theater productions, arts education programming in dance, music, theater, visual arts, early childhood, and creative arts therapies for special needs students, and free gallery exhibits featuring local, regional, and international artists.