The ballet “Coppélia” is a classic love story that seems to start at the end. The boy, Franz, has already met the girl, Swanilda, and they plan to marry at the town festival. Unexpectedly, Franz, played by St. Croix Ballet alum John Roesler, falls in love with a life-size doll created by the mysterious inventor, Doctor Coppélius. It is up to Swanilda, played by Caitlyn McDermott and Catherine Wessel, to save her beloved Franz from the doll, Coppélia, and make it to her wedding.
“It definitely has a strong female character in the lead,” director Susan Hovey said.
“Coppélia” is based on two stories, “Der Sandmann” and “Die Puppe,” by E.T.A. Hoffman, the same writer as the famous Christmas ballet, “The Nutcracker.”
“Swanilda is a strong and spunky character,” Wessel said.
“We hope the audience laughs during the whole show,” McDermott said. “There are so many funny parts.”
McDermott previously danced lead roles in St. Croix Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella,” and was Sugar Plum in the Stillwater “Nutcracker.” She is a senior at Stillwater Area High School, and this will be her last show on the St. Croix Ballet stage. Wessel, a junior at Stillwater Area High School, also danced the role of Sugar Plum in last year’s “Nutcracker.”
“‘Coppélia’ really is a comedy,” Roesler said. “It has silly characters in a silly village.”
Roesler has been dancing ballet for more than 15 years and been part of more than 30 shows.
“It isn’t as well known, but it’s definitely one of the more fun ones,” Roesler said. “There are a lot of fun dances.”
Hovey directs more than 100 dancers from St. Croix Ballet in the show, ranging from very young beginners to more skilled dancers.
“The spring show is a beautiful complement to the annual Stillwater ‘Nutcracker,’” Hovey said. “There are dozens of advanced roles for these aspiring dancers, as well as delightful roles for our younger dancers.”
One memorable scene in the first act features a dance from the young boys class, and had the entire studio laughing during rehearsals.
“The studio has a very strong program for young men and boy dancers, and the dozen male dancers on stage simply adds an incredible dimension and great fun to our shows,” Hovey said. “It is something that you just don’t see anywhere else.”
Performances for Coppélia will take place at the Stillwater Area High School at 7 p.m. Friday, April 25; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 26; and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 27. Tickets are $14 and are available for purchase online at stcroixballet.com/tickets.
Contact Alicia Lebens at [email protected]