Southern California Ballet presents "Coppélia" April 21 and 22

The Southern California Ballet is presenting its spring performance, the comedy ballet “Coppélia,” at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 21 and 1 p.m. Sunday, April 22 at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts, 15498 Espola Road.

The show tells the story of a young couple living in a medieval town that are engaged. The pair have agreed to marry on a specific day when the mayor of the town has promised to give them a bag of gold.

Franz is not as serious as his fiancée, Swanhilda, running off to dance with gypsies and falling in love with Coppélia, the young woman who sits on the porch of Dr. Coppélius’s house who is, in reality, a lifelike doll. Comedic antics ensue, as Franz and Swanhilda separately break into Dr. Coppélius’s home to seek out the young woman who has stolen Franz’s heart, and Dr. Coppélius drugs Franz in the hope of stealing his soul to bring his doll to life.

The show has a happy ending and is fun and lighthearted, said Tobias Batley, one of the ballet’s artistic directors.

Originally debuted in 1870 in Paris, the show has a long history and is one of the original comedic ballets that survives to this day, Batley said. It was also the first ballet to involve character dance, which is a style of ballet that derives inspiration from national or folk dances, or interprets and represents a particular profession, mode of living or personality. Character dance classes are very popular at the SCB, Batley said.

The SBC originally premiered its production of “Coppélia” in 2002 and performed it again in 2007, said Batley. The show has not been performed in over a decade due to the expense of renting the elaborate sets required for the SBC’s staging, he said.

For this production, the sets originally used by the ballet were not available for rental, so SCB rented two backdrops and built its own, scaled-down sets. Batley said building their own sets meant the company could perform “Coppélia” more often in the future.

The show will include about 50 dancers, larger than the SCB’s average spring shows, which often only have 15 or 20 dancers, said Batley. “We wanted to open it up more to the community,” he said, “get everyone involved. It’s incredible to have that many people onstage, it’s really cool.”

The production will feature guest artists from the San Diego Ballet, including Stephanie Maiorano, a SCB alumna, as Swanhilda, Adam Bloodgood as Franz and Vincent Padilla as Dr. Coppélius.

The performances were funded by the SCB’s fundraising gala, “Coppélia’s Ball,” which raised over $10,000 in February.

Tickets range from $25 to $43 for adults, with discounts available for seniors, students, groups of 10 or more and children age 17 and under. Tickets are available at the box office (open noon to 5 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays), by calling 858-748-0505 or online at powaycenter.com.

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