KINGSPORT — After more than 25 years, Kingsport Ballet is preparing to re-stage a full-length classic.
“Coppelia” will be performed under the artistic direction of Valeria Sinyavskaya and the assistant direction of Leonid Flegmatov. The ballet is set to take place at NPAC in Greeneville on April 16 and 17.
The plan is for audiences to attend the ballet in person in limited numbers, as well as virtually. Should that change in the coming weeks, audiences will once again be able to purchase livestream tickets.
“We are very happy to be staging ‘Coppelia’ in full this spring, after last year’s preparations were cut short due to the COVID-19 quarantine,” Sinyavskaya said. “Unlike the grand, regal ballets that we usually stage, such as ‘Swan Lake,’ ‘Giselle,’ ‘The Sleeping Beauty,’ ‘Coppelia’ is charming and approachable, and the perfect ballet for our current company.”
This ballet was originally staged in 1870 in Paris by the Imperial Theater Opera (later Paris Opera Ballet). The original choreographer was Arthur St. Leon to the music of Leo Delibes, but modern-day productions are traditionally derived from the revivals staged by Marius Petipa for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg in the late 19th century.
“Coppelia” is a lightly comic ballet focused on a doll of the same name that was lovingly created by the eccentric toymaker Dr. Coppelius. She is so lifelike that a handsome village boy is infatuated with her and determined to win her love, despite the fact that he is already engaged tobe married to Swanhilda.
Set in the Old World village of Galicia, the ballet in three acts takes the audience along on an entertaining and charming ride, from the village in Act One and into Dr. Coppelius’ study in Act Two, where in the shadows all manner of life-size toys appear so realistic as be able to move and dance and play on their own.
Though at times comical, the plot gets complicated and heartwrenching, as Swanhilda and her friends sneak into Dr. Coppelius’ study and fool him into believing Coppelia, his masterpiece, has come to life.
An accomplished cast
The cast of “Coppelia” will be made up of Kingsport Ballet Company’s own dancers and in-house professionals, as well as students from the school. Area artists and designers have collaborated to create sets and re-create costumes.
Dr. Coppelius will be performed by Flegmatov. The lead ballerina and Kingsport Ballet student, Sophie Kooy, is a recent recipient of the Grand Prix, along with her partner, Garrett Frierson, at the Jewels Ballet Competition in New York for their performance of the pas de deux from “Coppelia.”
Frierson also received the Best Boy Grand Prix award, and their pas de deux from “Coppelia” was selected for a special judge’s award by Era Juravlev, director of the Joffrey Ballet Academy in New York.
Flegmatov received the second-place best teacher award at the festival, and Kingsport Ballet received the Grand Prix second-place award for best school. Mia Christie and Morgan Mullins, other Kingsport Ballet students, also received second- and third-place awards, respectively.
“We are excited to stage this ballet with our own advanced dancers and professionals in the lead roles — all Kingsport Ballet dancers,” said Bertina Dew, executive director. “We are proud of the high-level training our teachers provide to make such a production possible.”