Colorado Ballet Society and Colorado Youth Ballet Light Up the Stage with Comedy Ballet, "Coppelia!"
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Colorado Ballet Society and Colorado Youth Ballet are elated to present the classic comedic ballet “Coppelia”, April 9th at 2pm and 6pm, at Mitchell High School, 1205 Potter Dr, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909.
Coppelia is a classic comedy ballet which premiered in 1870, at the Théâtre Impérial de l'Opéra in Paris, France, and was originally choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon. However, whilst growing in popularity, the Franco-Prussian War began, and the ballet was halted with the Paris Siege. Today, productions are often derived from the revived shows choreographed by Marius Petipa from the late 19th century. It is now one of the most-performed ballets in the world.
“Producing Coppelia has shown me how clever choreography can really tell a story through dance,” explains Colorado Ballet Society’s Artistic Director, Kate Walsh-Honea. “This ballet will capture the audiences' heart. Hopefully, it will even make them laugh out loud! I performed in this ballet early on in my career as one of Swanhilda's friends and setting this ballet has been so rewarding. I loved adding choreography to that which Patricia Hoffman staged. It is a beautiful blend of dancing which really showcases our talented pre-professional students.”
Coppelia is a ballet that comes alive through acting and storytelling. Colorado Youth Ballet is
putting their best foot forward by casting professional guest artists to bring Dr. Coppelius, and Swanhilda’s love interest, Franz, to the stage.
“The quality of dance and training at Ballet Society is incredibly high but what makes it such a special place, to me, is the culture of support and respect shown by the dancers and staff towards one another,” says Colton West, one of the guest stars who will be playing the quirky toy maker of the story. “There are many wonderful comedic moments throughout the ballet. It is fun to see the dancers explore and expand not only their technical abilities but also their acting skills.”
Colton West studied at Colorado Ballet Society under the direction of Patricia Hoffman and attended summer intensives at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, Ballet Austin, American Ballet Theatre, and the Paris Opera Ballet School. He also spent a year abroad training in Singapore. As a student, Colton competed in YAGP and received Denver Ballet Guild’s first prize in 2013 and 2015. In his professional career, Colton has performed with Ballet Idaho, State Street Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, and Canada’s Ballet Jorgen. West has joined Colorado Youth Ballet’s productions of Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty over the last three years.
Also joining the Colorado Youth Ballet on stage is Matthew Helms. “It’s refreshing to play Franz,” reveals Helms. “I don’t have to imagine myself as a prince or a cavalier. Franz is a very natural role, yet it’s still you as the character and what you can bring.”
Helms has been a favorite guest artist for Colorado Youth Ballet performances for several years. He has played various lead roles in The Nutcracker as well as the Prince in Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. He started as a child actor and is now a company dancer with Boulder Ballet.
“I always enjoy returning to Colorado Ballet Society,” says Helms. “The students are just excellent. I’m always greeted with respect, yet, I have a welcoming back feeling like I’ve never left. There’s a level of trust, professionalism, and high level of talent with each of my partners that is a blessing to be a part of. Everyone in the studio, from staff to student, always has a place in my heart and is like family to me.”
“Many of our students were preparing to perform this show in 2020 before the pandemic interrupted performance plans," shares Walsh-Honea. "It is so special to bring this performance back to life in 2022 after two unprecedented years.”
“Playing the part of Swanhilda/Coppelia, has definitely given me a greater appreciation for the more comedic side of the story,” says Jenna Measmer, who will be playing the lead in the 6pm show.
“I am so excited to be showcased in this production,” exclaims Amanda Mullenix, who will be performing as Swanhilda in the 2pm show. “It is such a comical show, and I am so eager to perform everything we have prepared. I especially love the acting. Swanhilda has two sides; she’s a troublemaker, however, she is also fun and has a flirty flair. It is quite fun to experiment with the acting and explore her character.”
“It’s a challenge playing a role that is so playful and silly while also communicating what is going on within the story,” continues Mullenix, echoing Jenna’s thoughts. “Playing this part has definitely pushed me to think outside of the box and even to free myself up to laugh along.”
Come and join us for this delightful production. Experience the magic and fun of these characters on April 9th, at 2pm or 6pm! Tickets are $27 for general admission and $22 for children and Seniors. Tickets can be purchased at danceinthesprings.com/tickets.
Figure 1: Dr. Coppelius with his Book of Spells from the Colorado Youth Ballet's 2009 production of "Coppelia" | PC: Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography
Figure 2: Dr. Coppelius with Coppelia from the Colorado Youth Ballet's 2009 production of "Coppelia" | PC: Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography
Figure 3: Dr. Coppelius and his dolls from the Colorado Youth Ballet's 2009 production of "Coppelia" | PC: Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography
Figure 4: Colton West and Josie Hawkins from the Colorado Youth Ballet's 2018 production of "Swan Lake" | PC: Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography