Ballet Philippines Celebrates Its 54th Season with 'Coppelia' 

The esteemed dance company is showcasing the power of dance with the return of “Coppelia,” a beloved 1870 classic that explores the importance of self-love and acceptance. 

Members of the press gathered in Solaire’s Oasis Garden Café to witness a stunning preview of Ballet Philippines’ upcoming production, Coppelia. Dancers twirled and jumped in colorful costumes, engaged in a synchronized routine that captured the audience’s attention from the very start. 

Solaire’s Oasis Garden Café Ballet Philippines’ Coppelia
The official poster for Ballet Philippines’ “Coppelia”/Photo courtesy of Ballet Philippines

This was just a taste of what the dance company’s 54th season has in store. The organization is starting strong with the upcoming iteration of a beloved classic based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s short story. 

READ ALSO: Ballet Philippines And The Theatre At Solaire: Kicking Off The Partnership With The Unveiling Of ‘Carlo Calma’s Diyosa’

A Tale of Steadfast Love and Devotion

Coppelia was first staged in 1870 at the Théâtre Impérial de l’Opéra in Paris, with choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon and writing by Charles-Louis Etienne Nuttier. It follows Dr. Coppélius, an inventor who creates a beautiful life-sized, mechanical doll named Coppelia. Two lovers—Swanhilda and Franz—also lie at the heart of the story. 

Idelle Buhia plays the titular character, Coppelia Solaire’s Oasis Garden Café Ballet Philippines’ Coppelia
Idelle Buhia plays the titular character, Coppelia/Photo courtesy of Ballet Philippines

Though the pair intend to marry during their village’s harvest festival, things become complicated when Franz discovers the perfect yet mysterious Coppelia and becomes infatuated with her. Meanwhile, Dr. Coppélius has sinister plans in store for the young man—so begins a story filled with adventure and chaos as Swanhilda attempts to save the love of her life and win back his heart. 

Jemima Reyes plays Swanhilda Solaire’s Oasis Garden Café Ballet Philippines’ Coppelia
Jemima Reyes plays Swanhilda/Photo courtesy of Ballet Philippines

This season’s restaging promises a performance that, while being lighthearted, still manages to explore significant themes like mental health and self-acceptance. Ultimately, love conquers all in Coppelia, reminding us to look beyond surface beauty and embrace our perfect imperfections. 

Ian Ocampo plays Franz Solaire’s Oasis Garden Café Ballet Philippines’ Coppelia
Ian Ocampo plays Franz/Photo courtesy of Ballet Philippines

A Ballet of Sentimental Value

Ballet Philippines’ theme for this season is “The Power of Dance.” Coppelia promises to capture the spirit of this theme by showcasing the company’s incredible technique, as well as its ability to translate tales as old as time for modern audiences. 

The ballet production has a special place in the heart of Ballet Philippines’ artistic director, Mikhail “Misha” Martynyuk. He first performed the work at the beginning of his career, so it all comes full-circle for the veteran dancer. 

Artistic director Mikhail “Misha” Martynyuk Solaire’s Oasis Garden Café Ballet Philippines’ Coppelia
Artistic director Mikhail “Misha” Martynyuk/Photo from the Ballet Phillippines website

“Coppelia is all about festivity and brightness. It symbolizes the celebration of a new season,” he shared. “It was also my very first performance as a dancer. I performed the lead role. I am very well-versed with the music, the libretto, and the technique. After my premiere, I got 24 invitations to dance Coppelia in Spain. With that, I think I brought all my learnings from my teachers, and I want to share it with my dancers [in the Philippines].” 

Breathing Life Into a Classic

Martynyuk draws inspiration from the 1884 St. Petersburg production staged by iconic choreographer Marius Petipa. However, he also added his own small touches to breathe new life into the restaging. 

For instance, he created the choreography with the intention of showcasing the strength and power of Ballet Philippines’ talented dancers. 

Solaire’s Oasis Garden Café Ballet Philippines’ Coppelia
Photo by Justin Bella Alonte via the Ballet Philippines website

“Filipinos love humor,” Martynyuk shared during the media launch. This is why he also injected more moments of humor and levity to appeal to local audiences. 

“Ballet will always be developed,” he said. “I adapted my version from the original and added several Filipino elements. It’s developed with more technique, more style, and [more] characters,” explained the artistic director. 

Martynyuk hopes that this light-hearted performance will inspire audiences to celebrate life for what it is–beautiful, mad, joyful, lonely, and all around filled with meaningful lessons. 

Ballet Philippines’ COPPELIA will run from August 4 to 6, 2023 at The Theater at Solaire. For tickets, log on to www.ballet.ph or www.ticketworld.com.ph.

Updates, behind-the-scenes coverage, and special sneak previews of this much-awaited performance will be posted on Ballet Philippines’ social media accounts. You may also follow Ballet Philippines on Instagram (@balletphilippines), Facebook (@balletphilippines) and Tiktok (@balletph).

Banner photo courtesy of Ballet Philippines.

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