Swarthmore Ballet Theater Stages ‘Coppelia’


Anna Si as Swanilda and Will McCullough as Franz play the romantic leads in Coppelia. Photo by Arbour Guthrie

A tightly-knit group of young and older dancers will present the ballet Coppelia in performances at Swarthmore Ballet Theatre on Saturdays, May 28 and June 4, at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., and on Sundays, May 29 and June 5, at 2 p.m.

The libretto by C.L.E. Nuitter, based on two tales of Hoffmann, tells the story of teenaged couple Franz and Swanilda. Franz’s head is turned by an animated doll created by inventor Dr. Coppelius. Swanilda exacts her revenge, and complications ensue. SBT director Lori Ardis says the 17-year-old lead characters, played by Anna Si of Morton and Will McCullough of Swarthmore, are both romantic and comic. “Things do not go smoothly in their courtship.”

Ardis and her daughter, Amber Flynn, choreographed the ballet, whose score was written by Leo Delibes. She notes that the family theme is strong in this production:

• Billy Hodges of Swarthmore (as Dr. Coppelius) is joined on stage by his wife, Denise Disney, and three daughters, Grace, Rose and Lillian.

• Three of Anna Si’s sisters — Linnea, Naomi and Elizabeth — share the stage with her.

• Will McCullough’s sister, Ellen, dances, his father, Doug, runs the lighting, and his mother, Linda, sews costumes for the ballet.

• Three other families have several dancers in the company.

Tickets (all seats are reserved) are sold at the door 30 minutes before each performance for any show. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $12 for seniors over 65 and students under 12. Cash and checks are accepted for payment. Free lemonade and cookies will be served at intermission.

The Swarthmore Ballet Theatre is located at 118 Park Avenue.

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