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PNB's 'Coppelia' is Perfect for Kids and Kids at Heart

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Lesley Rausch as Swanilda with company dancers in PNB’s production of Coppélia, choreographed by Alexandra Danilova and George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust (after Marius Petipa). Photo © Angela Sterling

Pacific

Saturday evening’s performance of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Coppelia reminded me just how much fun a story ballet can be.

Lesley Rausch and Jerome Tisserand did an outstanding (stellar, phenomenal, glowing, superb) job in the roles of Swanilda and Franz. They went from a teasing, head-game playing pair of young lovers to a mature, “ready to tie the knot” couple in all of about 2 hours.

Their comedic timing was impeccable, whether they were flirtatiously bantering back ‘n forth or trying to get away from the bumbling “mad scientist”, Dr. Coppelius, they brought the whole scene to life. I especially enjoyed the fact that their partnership didn’t feel forced, but rather effortless and natural, making this fairy tale all the more pleasant to watch.

And speaking of Dr. Coppelius, I found William Yin Lee’s interpretation to be smooth, playful and satisfying. I loved the way he dragged Franz around by the ear while simultaneously giving him a few swift kicks to the behind, and how he tried (in vain) to put a lid on the mischievous antics of Swanilda-dressed-as-Coppelia.

Act III’s Waltz of the Golden Hours featured Leta Biasucci, the petite powerhouse who never ceases to amaze with her delicate phrasing and innate ability to charm your socks off. Carrie Imler gave a beautiful performance as the glittering “Dawn”; Laura Gilbreath danced as “Prayer”, a role which suits her strong lyrical qualities perfectly, while Maria Chapman drew a hearty round of applause as the “Spinner”.

Surrounding these enchanting soloists were 24 equally enchanting “baby ballerinas” dressed in lovely pink and gold tutus. As these young dancers entered the stage amongst a chorus of delighted “Ooo’s and ahh’s”, their smiles radiated what can only be described as immeasurable joy. I wouldn’t be surprised if their performance sparked the desire to dance in nearly every young audience member’s heart there.

Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Jerome Tisserand as Franz, and principal dancer Lesley Rausch as Swanilda in PNB’s production of Coppélia, choreographed by Alexandra Danilova and George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust (after Marius Petipa).  Photo © ANGELA STERLING

Pacific

Discord and War featured the whirling, arrow-wielding talents of Lindsi Dec and Kiyon Gaines, a most impressive duo if I’ve ever seen one. Their strong characters and powerful bodies gorgeously yield themselves to whatever role they’re playing, whether it’s a dashing prince or gentle princess or even a Gladiator-esque warrior.

Charming sets featuring Swanilda’s adorable “teapot-shaped” house and a series of towering milk-white columns adorned with swirls of pink flowers rival the most beloved storybook illustrations. And those costumes…! Oh my! Each one was more impressive than the next, a seemingly endless stream of sparkling flowers, shiny tiaras and wispy tulle.

With its tummy tickling humor, beautiful sets, spectacular costumes, and of course - all those gorgeous dancers - make Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Coppelia the perfect treat!

Visit PNB.org today for tickets.

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