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COPPÉLIA (article first published : 2003-09-6)

Fantastic Flying Fish Dance Company, supported by the National Arts Council and The Playhouse Company, will be presenting the full-length comic ballet Coppélia in the Playhouse Drama Theatre from the beginning of October.

As part of their ongoing commitment to dance and dance development in KZN, FFFDC has been nurturing their relationship with the various dance teachers and dance studios in the region. The company members have been teaching Open Classes at the various dance schools in both classical ballet and contemporary technique throughout the year. FFFDC Resident Choreographer, David Gouldie, also taught a Contemporary Set Dance which was performed by dance students at this year’s SASAD Dance Festival where the winners of each category were awarded a bursary by FFFDC to assist with their fees for additional tuition.

Auditions were held recently where students who had passed their Grade 5 ballet examination were invited to audition for roles in Coppélia. Out of the 70 auditionees, 30 students were selected for various roles. These students will perform alongside company members, affording them the opportunity of working in a professional environment and being involved in a professional production.

Coppélia was last performed in Durban in 1999 when FFFDC included dance students who were participating in their Scholarship Programme at the time. This three-act ballet, based on a story by E T A Hoffman, is a timeless tale of romance, suspicion, magic and revenge. Dr. Coppelius, a mysterious and eccentric toymaker, creates a life-like, enchanting, clockwork doll called Coppélia. Franz, a young villager, unwittingly falls in love with her, much to the chagrin of his spirited fiancée, Swanhilda. Adventure and mayhem unfolds as Swanhilda tries to thwart Dr. Coppelius’s sinister plans and win back the love of Franz!

With sparkling humour and lively additional choreography by FFFDC Artistic Director, Mark Hawkins, enchanting sets and costumes by Peter Cazalet and Delibes’s delightful score, this vivid production captures Coppélia’s magical atmosphere and is guaranteed to take audiences on a mesmerizing journey of delight for children and adults alike.

The production sees a welcome return to the stage of Dudley von Loggenburg who alternates the role of Dr. Coppelius with David Gouldie and will assist in the staging of the production. David Gouldie drew much critical acclaim when he performed the same role previously in the production. Book now for this colourful and magical family favourite!

Coppelia runs from October 1 to 9 at 19h30 during the school holidays and there are a number of matinee performances at 14h30.

Tickets R65 (R45 children, scholars and pensioners) available through Computicket, Dial-A-Seat on 031 369 9444 or online at www.computicket.co.za More information from FFFDC on 031 209 0142.




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