Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of being a ballet dancer. In 2001, I came to Ballet Austin as a trainee and then moved up to the second company as an apprentice. In 2004, I joined Ballet Austin and, amazingly, achieved that dream. Since then, I’ve had many wonderful opportunities on stage. This next performance, however, will be something new and extremely exciting. I’ve been cast as Swanhilda in Coppélia, my first leading role. I am so excited, and nervous, and a little bit stressed, but mostly amazed. As a little girl this is the type of role you dream about as you twirl around your room practicing that final bow. And now it’s real.
Photo: Anne Marie Melendez
Swanhilda is a girl at the center of a series of comedic misunderstandings. She is a young girl in love, but a bit of a brat too. She and her boyfriend Franz are set to be engaged until Swanhilda catches him blowing kisses to the girl in the window of Dr. Coppelius’ house. Wanting to figure out who this girl is, Swanhilda and her friends sneak into Dr. Coppelius house. In the house they find many mechanical dolls, making their way Coppélia, who turns out to be a doll as well. Swanhilda realizes she’s been jealous of a doll, just as Dr. Coppelius returns. But that is just the beginning of this entertaining tale. I don’t want to spoil it all, but she does grow up in the end.
The rehearsal process for Coppélia is different than what we’ve just been doing with New American Talent/Dance and The Bach Project, since it is a restaging of a classic, not the creation of a new work. Mr. Mills has been working with us, teaching the choreography as closely to the original as possible, with some slight changes here and there where he sees fit. The coming rehearsals will not only be spent working on the execution of the steps, but also the stylized shapes specific to this time period of ballet. I think Swanhilda will be a really fun character to portray, but it is also going to be challenging to make sure that the dancing, mime, and acting all accurately portray her and tell the story. It's going to be an intense few weeks, but I am so excited to have been given this amazing opportunity.
For more information about Ballet Austin's Mother's Day Weekend production of Coppélia, click here.