Taking small steps on big stage
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.