“It’s like a rom-com ballet,” said one Festival Ballet Theatre fan about the upcoming production of Coppélia. This classic ballet involves a mysterious inventor, Doctor Coppélius, a doll and some village youths. Basically, Dr. Coppelius creates a life-size dancing doll that is so lifelike that Franz, a young man from the village becomes infatuated with it. He sets aside his love, Swanhilda, who shows him his folly by dressing as the doll and pretending to come to life. The ballet is based on two stories by E.T.A. Hoffman. You may remember him as the author of “The Nutcracker and The Mouse King,” the story on which, The Nutcracker Ballet is based.

Coppélia was originally choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon, with music by Léo Delibes. This family-friendly production is staged by Salwa Rizkalla and features renowned guest artists Beckanne Sisk and Chase O’Connell who will dance in the lead roles of Coppélia.

This captivating family-friendly comedic ballet with a touch of romance opens on Saturday, March 24 at 7 pm and will have a matinee on Sunday, March 25 at 2 pm at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.

We are happy to share with you promotional photographs we shot at the Old World Village in Huntington Beach.
Photos by Skye Schmidt and Marcie Taylor

Coppelia and friends

Photo shows Coppelia (Skye Schmidt) and two friends (Sophia Johncox and Tatum Backer)

The Old World Village in Huntington Beach gave the photographs that quaint Old World-feel much like the ballet set.

Festival Ballet Theatre trainees Tatum Backer and Sophia Johncox will dance the “Friends” roles among others.

Festival Ballet Theatre company dancer Skye Schmidt is dancing the role of Coppelia. Fun fact: she was a “Friend” in our 2011 production of Coppelia, she also danced in the Waltz of Hours.
Skye Schmidt as Coppelia
Skye Schmidt as Coppelia

The beautiful costumes were created by Heather Lerma. “I first made the costumes back in 2011 and I am so excited to see them again onstage, 7 years later!” Heather was inspired by the backdrops Artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla showed her back in 2011. Heather shares: “She showed them to me and I couldn’t believe how beautiful they were! I was inspired by them, they had that quaint village feel but the colors were so vibrant and rich. Most village sets are more muted in their colors & are very dark. Sometimes when they get old, they tend to look sort of faded or drab too. These new backdrops were so warm, they glowed! They looked happy! Salwa said she wanted a bunch of pretty new Peasant dresses… I immediately thought of embroidering the dresses. I wanted them to have that Folk Art look.”

Coppelia Costumes by Heather Lerma

Photo on the left shows Heather Lerma’s original sketches from 2011. Photo on the right features Sophia Johncox and Tatum Backer wear the delightful embroidered costumes.

To learn more about Coppelia or to buy tickets to one of our shows, March 24-25, at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, visit festivalballet.org/coppelia.