Mercyhurst Dancers present “Coppelia”

The Mercyhurst Dancers, in conjunction with Lake Erie Ballet, will present “Coppelia, the Girl with the Enamel Eyes,” on Saturday, May 3, at 2 and 7 p.m. and on Sunday, May 4, at 2 p.m. at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center on the Mercyhurst College campus. This story of a peasant girl, a peasant boy, a doll, and an old doll maker guarantees a fun family outing with its comedic take on the traditional tale of a love triangle.

“Coppelia” is a classic originally presented in Paris in 1870, set to music by Leo Delibes. Willam F. Christensen, teacher and mentor of Mercyhurst dance director Tauna Hunter, first choreographed the production in the United States in 1935.

During her professional career with Ballet West, Hunter danced many of the roles in the ballet including the leading role of Swanhilda and will be restaging the classic after the choreography of Christensen. She will be assisted with the restaging process by assistant professor Christine Marie Hay, who also danced in the Christensen version.

With a supporting cast of more than 60 dancers, senior dance major Amanda Walker will be in the spotlight performing the role of Swanhilda, partnered with Lake Erie principal dancer Matthew Carter, who will fill the role of Franz.

“I am thrilled to, for the first time in nine years, chose a student to perform the leading role of Swanhilda,” said Hunter. “In the past we have relied on professional guest artists or artists from our Returning Professional Program. It is exciting for me that the department has finally developed to such a professional standard that we can confidently present our students in the leading roles.”

Adding to the grandeur will be sets and costumes courtesy of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

On May 4 at 1:15 p.m. the Performance Plus Lecture Series will present a backstage tour and discussion of “Coppelia,” at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. Reservations for the lecture, which is free, are required due to space constraints; please call 824-2256.

Tickets for the performance range from $8 to $12.50 and can be purchased by calling the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center box office at 824-3
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