Tak­ing small steps on big stage

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health - Tanya MacNaughton

TWENTY-one Perth chil­dren have suc­cess­fully au­di­tioned to dance in WA Bal­let’s Septem­ber sea­son of Cop­pelia.

Three casts of seven chil­dren – four girls and three boys – will play the younger ver­sions of the main char­ac­ters, in­clud­ing Swanilda, Franz and Dr Cop­pelius’s daugh­ter Cop­pelia.

“Chore­og­ra­pher Greg Hors­man cre­ated a pro­logue that gives a back story to why Dr Cop­pelius is such a mean, crazy man,” WA Bal­let ed­u­ca­tion and ac­cess man­ager Deb­o­rah Robert­son said.

“The au­di­tions were held with Greg and the repeti­teur, Janette Mul­li­gan, with our artis­tic staff.

“We were look­ing for the kids that were able to per­form con­fi­dently and pick up the move­ment quickly.

“We also had to be very care­ful of their height, as they couldn’t be taller than the dancer who will be play­ing the same char­ac­ter a few years later.”

Robert­son said the young dancers would have six re­hearsals with the com­pany dancers be­fore open­ing night.

“They get to see up-close and per­sonal what it’s like to be a pro­fes­sional dancer,” she said.

“In the long term, hope­fully this ex­pe­ri­ence will in­spire the next gen­er­a­tion of prin­ci­pal dancers.

“It’s also a great op­por­tu­nity for the boys to get in­volved, which doesn’t hap­pen very of­ten for young male dancers.

“All the boys, both young and old, play football on stage in this pro­duc­tion, so they’ll also all be work­ing on their football skills, which is pretty fun.

“For the kids to see how hard the pro­fes­sional dancers work, to get to know them and to see them as role mod­els is re­ally im­por­tant.”

Cop­pelia is show­ing at His Majesty’s Theatre, Septem­ber 11 to 26.

Read our story fea­tur­ing WA Bal­let prin­ci­pal dancer Matt Lehmann on page 19.

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