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BWW Review: PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET'S “COPPELIA” ON THE DIGITAL STAGE Filmed at McCaw Hall

A comedic treat for all ages

BWW Review: PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET'S “COPPELIA” ON THE DIGITAL STAGE Filmed at McCaw Hall

PNB's Digital Season continues from May 6th to May 10th 2021 with a delightful archival recording from 2016 of PNB's production of George Balanchine's "Coppélia", choreographed by Mr. B and Alexandra Danilova to the music of Léo Delibes. Back in 2014, I wrote a BWW Dance review of the ballet as danced by the New York City Ballet, and I can attest that PNB's production is equally superb. Digital tickets are available at https://order.pnb.org/digital/rep5. I promise that the whole family will enjoy this comedic ballet that is replete with first-rate dancing, charming mime, and well trained youngsters from the Pacific Northwest Ballet School.

Watching the performance, I was reminded of a slogan indelibly etched in my mind as result of my teenage summers when I was a dance major at Interlochen in Northern Michigan, and my later summers as a ballet faculty member there. Emblazoned across the proscenium of the magnificent outdoor Kresge Auditorium stage is this dictum: "Dedicated to the Promotion of World Friendship through the Universal Language of the Arts". Balanchine and Danilova were both native speakers of Russian, and the original choreography for the ballet was by Arthur St.-Léon of France, but the story of "Coppélia" is so clearly told in the gestures and movements of ballet that children and adults who speak any language can understand it with no trouble.

Kudos to principal dancers Leta Biasucci, Benjamin Griffiths, and Ryan Cardea in the lead roles of Swanhilda, Franz, and Dr. Coppelius. (I can never resist mentioning that I was Ryan's childhood ballet teacher at Steps on Broadway in NYC!) Applause also to the entire cast and to Scenic and Costume Designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno, Lighting Designer Randall G. Chiarelli, and the PNB Orchestra conducted by Emil de Cou. Now, get your tickets and savor this pandemic silver lining with the knowledge that we wouldn't have been treated to archival videos unless that had become the only option. Of course we're all looking forward to the opportunity once again to watch live performances, but this PNB digital season has been and continues to be an immense pleasure for balletomanes all around the globe.

Photo © Angela Sterling


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