Ballet lovers are in for a treat this August as Ballet Philippines is set to stage a full-length ballet performance of Coppelia, one of the greatest comic ballets of the 19th Century, in celebration of the group's 54th season.
Coppelia rests its premise on an inventor named Dr. Coppélius and how he managed to create a beautiful life-sized, mechanical doll named Coppelia, as well as a pair of young lovers, Swanhilda and Franz, who plan to marry at a harvest festival in their village.
Adventure and chaos ensue when Franz lays his eyes on Coppelia whom he believes to be human, stirring a discord between the couple, all the while Dr. Coppélius plans to lure Frantz into his home for an evil spell.
Based on the short story by E.T.A. Hoffman, the comic ballet first premiered way back in 1870 in Paris by choreographer Arthur Saint-Léon. And now, years later, Ballet Philippines Artistic Director Mikhail Martynyuk is set to put his own twist to the story by incorporating several Filipino elements to it.
"I adapted my version from the original and added several Filipino elements. It is developed with more technique, more style, and [more] characters," Martynyuk shared.
According to him, Coppelia holds a special place in his heart as it is where he took his first step as a dancer.
"Coppelia is all about festivity and brightness. It symbolizes the celebration of a new season. [W]ith that, I think I brought all my learnings from my teachers, and I want to share it with my dancers [in the Philippines]," he said.
Drawing inspiration from the 1884 St. Petersburg production by influential choreographer Marius Petipa, Martynyuk has high hopes that his version's light-hearted performance will inspire audiences to celebrate the beauty, joys, and hardships of life, as well as reflect on relevant themes like mental health and self-love.