Spotlight is the culmination of the tireless work these young dancers put in each year. Taking what for some is their first step onto the professional stage, 80 young artists from across Canada and around the world promise to give audiences of all ages and tastes something to rave about!
Graduates have gone on to perform, choreograph and teach for major dance companies such as Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Queensland Ballet, Singapore Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet and other companies throughout the world.
A toymaker, doll, and an admirer intertwine in Coppélia, a light-hearted, family-friendly ballet where love triumphs all.
Dr. Coppélius, a lonely and eccentric toymaker, has fashioned a beautiful life-size doll, Coppélia, who obeys his every command. As she sits placidly on the balcony, she catches the eye of young Franz, who is immediately smitten, much to the displeasure of his fiancé, Swanhilda.
The real heroine of this lively, classical ballet, is not the compliant Coppélia, but the feisty Swanhilda. Vexed by her fiancé’s wandering eye, Swanhilda quickly takes control of the plot, outwitting both Dr. Coppélius and her fickle fiancé. Comic chaos ensues!
Though it first premiered in 1870, it has been argued that this comedy of mistaken identity, based on stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann, is the first “feminist” ballet. A ballet that eventually became the most-performed ballet at the Paris Opera Ballet, but never performed by the RWB Company!
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Act I: A EUROPEAN VILLAGE SQUARE TOWARDS THE END OF SUMMER
Dr. Coppélius is an odd character, and spends his time making dolls. Today he has put his favourite creation, the lovely Coppélia, outside on his balcony. Upon emerging from her house, Swanhilda, a young peasant girl, sees Coppélia and finds her so life-like that she attempts to converse with the doll. Unsuccessful, Swanhilda leaves just as her love, Franz, arrives. Franz also notices Coppélia on the balcony, and mistakes her mechanical gestures for real emotions. Swanhilda returns to find Franz blowing kisses up at Coppélia. Still not realizing Coppélia is a doll, the two argue as the rest of the village arrives to dance in celebration of the upcoming festival. The Bergermeister arrives to announce that a new bell has been made for the church. All couples who will be married at the festival will receive a dowry gift.
As evening approaches, Dr. Coppélius leaves his workshop and is taunted by young men from the tavern. During the scuffle, Dr. Coppélius loses the key to his workshop, and rushes off unaware. Swanhilda and her friends pass by, find the key and decide to enter the mysterious workshop.
Dr. Coppélius returns to discover he has lost his key. Seeing the shop door open, he fears the worst and rushes inside. Franz appears with a ladder, intent on climbing up to the balcony to find Coppélia.
ACT II: DR. COPPELIUS’ WORKSHOP
Inside the workshop Swanhilda and friends discover Coppélia is just another doll. They are having a wonderful time playing with all creations when Dr. Coppélius returns. Angrily, he chases them all out, except Swanhilda who hides in Coppélia’s alcove. Hearing another intruder, Dr. Coppélius freezes like a doll and watches Franz enter. Franz is caught by the angry toymaker and explains he has broken into the shop hoping to find Coppélia. Dr. Coppélius invites Franz to have a drink, and keeps pouring until the boy falls asleep he then pulls out his magic book and attempts to transfer Franz’ life force to his beloved Coppélia. Not realizing that Swanhilda has taken the doll’s place, he is overjoyed at his apparent success. The truth becomes clear when Franz awakes unharmed, and the two lovers run out leaving a distraught Coppélius amidst his broken dolls.
ACT III: THE VILLAGE SQUARE
The villagers assemble for the harvest festival and unveiling of the new church bell. The Bergermeister begins to hand out dowries just as Dr. Coppélius arrives demanding pay for his broken dolls. Swanhilda calms the angry toymaker by giving him her dowry. One by one her friends do so as well. Dr. Coppélius leaves happy, knowing he can rebuild his shop and dolls.
The villagers begin to celebrate the calls of the new church bells: the call to prayer at dawn, the call to work and the call to arms. During the declaration of peace, we see Franz and Swanhilda express their true love in marriage.