Mercyhurst Dancers stage 'Coppelia' May 5-6

The Mercyhurst Dancers will present “Coppelia, the Girl with the Enamel Eyes” on May 5-6, Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center on the Mercyhurst College campus. A peasant girl, a peasant boy, a doll and an old doll maker guarantee a family event with a comedic twist to the traditional love triangle. 

“Coppelia” is a traditional classic originally presented in Paris in 1870 to music by Leo Delibes. William F. Christensen, who first choreographed it in the United States in 1935, was the teacher and mentor of Mercyhurst Dance Chair Tauna Hunter. During her professional career with Ballet West, Hunter danced many roles in the ballet, including the leading role of Swanhilda. She will be restaging the classic after the choreography of Christensen, assisted by assistant professors Christine Marie Hay, who also danced in the Christensen version, and C. Noelle Partusch.

Senior dance major Bonnie Hair and junior dance major Alyssa Marquez will share the spotlight performing the role of Swanhilda. “I am thrilled to have dance majors perform the leading role of Swanhilda,” says 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 developed to such a professional standard that we can confidently present our pre-professional students in the leading roles.”

“Coppelia” also features special guest Geoff Bach in the role of Dr. Coppelius. Bach is known to the Erie community as the juggler at many Erie events including Celebrate Erie and as the ever-energetic director of City Style Swing. The ballet includes a supporting cast of more than 50 dancers, 

Sets and costumes for the production were provided by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Tickets for “Coppelia” range from $5 to $15 and can be purchased by calling 824-3000.

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