Dancing, Dolls, and Spring Fever: Boston Ballet Dances Coppélia

I am a regular at the ballet. A night out at the theater is always thought provoking and enjoyable. A stroll through an art museum is refreshingly therapeutic as well. I also enjoy a good hockey game or an evening at the ball park. I’ll take the family for a day exploring the city. I’ll even seek out a good instagram moment because it is always more than just that one Instagram shot if you know the whole story.

Any of these experiences are about spending time with myself and spending time with my family. I have teens so it also often involves dragging them out to door and tossing the iPhones into the mail slot as the door closes, but in the end it is ALWAYS worth it. I was given tickets to Balanchine’s Coppélia performed by the Boston Ballet for review. As always all opinions good, bad, or ugly are my own.

George Balanchine’s Coppélia

Coppélia is a story of young love. For those of you who have “been there done that” you know that young love is also a story of foolish love. There is a toy maker who makes a beautiful doll that sits on the balcony and reads her book and onlookers admire her beauty. She causes chaos around her because one falls in love and another is jealous, and neither realizes she is just a doll.

Derek Dunn and Boston Ballet in George Balanchine’s Coppélia © The George Balanchine Trust; photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet

The ballet Coppélia is one that is full of life and joy. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments that keep the youngest and eldest audience members from potentially dozing off. I also love the town parties that are full of character dances, which are ballet’s version of folk dances. The costumes are bright and they twirl perfectly as the young townsfolk celebrate spring and the town bells. I haven’t yet figured out what a bell festival is, but after this I may do a deep dive into Google and learn a bit more.

Boston Ballet in George Balanchine’s Coppélia © The George Balanchine Trust; photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Story Ballets

Story ballets are different than the contemporary ballets for several reasons. They always tell a very clear story. The dancers have more opportunities to act with pantomime and really embody a charater. Story Ballets often have a larger cast, which makes for some great visual, energetic festive scenes as well as dramatic fight scenes. Coppélia also has a scene with many young Boston Ballet School students.

It is exciting for students of dance to see other young faces on stage and imagine one day performing in front of an audience themselves. These young students are usually 10-13 years old and train with the Boston Ballet School. I’m not sure if it was opening night jitters, but they were not quite as perfectly blocked on the stage as I usually expect to see from Boston Ballet. There were also a few shaky moments from the principals who are usually flawless. This is just me getting a little bit nit-picky about the dancing. I have to admit that none of it took away from the overall performance. In fact the children got plenty of endearing ooohs and awwwws from the audience and a grande round of applauses

Derek Dunn, Misa Kuranaga, and Boston Ballet in George Balanchine’s Coppélia © The George Balanchine Trust; photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Children at the Ballet

I have mentioned before that Nutcracker, although the most popular, is not always the best performance to bring children to see. There are so many others that are just as child friendly (or even more so in my opinion).

It is important for children to not only learn to work hard at something, whether it is baseball, ballet, cello, drawing, painting, woodworking, comic book writing or baking, but to also see what hard work can lead to.

A ballet student can see what a principal dancer can do. An orchestra student can go look into the orchestra pit and see what a musician does. An artists can look at the costumes and set designs and see what an artist does. We all need something to dream of, but we also need real world people to look up to.

This experience of going to a live performance opens up everyone’s eyes to a creative world, but it also shows what hard work can become. These are conversations I have with my children often. I don’t mind what they choose to do in life, I just want them to work hard at it, not be afraid of setbacks or stumbling blocks, always strive to be better, and hopefully also find joy or some sort of satisfaction in what they do. Whether they find joy on the stage or have a career that affords them the luxury of sitting in the audience I hope they continue to love the arts.

Boston Ballet in George Balanchine’s Coppélia © The George Balanchine Trust; photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Who Should I Bring

Coppélia is a ballet that anyone can enjoy. You can see it with your children, bring a friend, enjoy a trip down memory lane with your spouse, bring your parents, or ask a neighbour. This really is a ballet you can enjoy with anyone because in many ways it is so relatable. If you follow me on Instagram you will find a code for a discount as well which makes it even easier to attend with friends.

All performances of Coppélia take place at the Boston OperaHouse (539 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111)

Thursday, Mar 28 at 7:30 pm
Friday, Mar 22 at 7:30 pm
Friday, Mar 29 at 7:30 pm*
Saturday, Mar 23 at 1:30 pm
Saturday, Mar 30 at 1:30 pm
Saturday, Mar 23 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, Mar 30 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, Mar 24 at 1:30 pm
Sunday, Mar 31 at 1:30 pm
*Indicates post-show talk

Tickets start at $37. Youth pricing (ages 2–17) is available for 50 percent off (sections A and B) for every performance with the purchase of a full-price adult ticket. For more information, visit bostonballet.org or call 617.695.6955

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