Wednesday, May 6, 2015

‘Coppélia’ delivers beautiful ballet and loads of laughs

Kaitlin Coppinger and Kris Kazaks prepare for in Hanneke & Company's production of "Coppélia." Coppinger is one of three ballerinas who will dance the lead. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

Check it out

What: “Coppélia,” the ballet

Where: Veterans’ Memorial Theater, 203 E. 14th St.

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 12:30 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $15 general at the Davis Art Center, 1919 F St., or at the box office one hour before the performance

By Shari Walter

Looking for some laughs, family entertainment and a way to beat the heat this weekend?

Locals can find all three at the Veterans’ Memorial Theater as Hanneke & Co. present five performances of the ballet, “Coppélia.” According to Davis Art Center ballet instructor Hanneke Lohse, it’s “ the funniest ballet” her dancers perform. Yes, a funny ballet.

“Coppélia” premieres at 7:30 p.m. Friday and is based on a storybook written by E.T.A. Hoffman, the author of the classic holiday ballet, “The Nutcracker.”

“For people who do not know a lot about ballet, there is actually a story to ‘Coppélia,’ and it is a funny ballet for children to enjoy, too,” said Lohse, whose has taught ballet in Davis for more than 45 years.

Ballerina Kaitlin Coppinger agreed: “ ‘Coppélia’ is possibly one of the most family-friendly ballets because it’s absolutely hilarious!” Coppinger shares the lead female role of Swanilda with Margaret Yang, a senior at Davis High School, and Isabella Sanders, a sophomore at DHS.

“Where else can you find a sassy young lady, amour-filled lad and eccentric doll maker?” Coppinger added. “The dancing is top-notch and everyone has put their heart and soul into this production.”

The role of Swanilda’s beau Franz is performed by another longtime Hanneke & Co. dancer, Kris Kazaks, also a DHS graduate, now working in the Bay Area. Every performance is unique, as cast members frequently rotate roles, bring their own personal styles to each character.

“I don’t tell them what to do, their own personalities come out,” Lohse said.

This production also marks Coppinger’s retirement from Hanneke & Co. She graduated from UC Davis in March with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in French. She began dancing when she was 2 1/2 years old and was a part of Hanneke & Co. for 13 years. She frequently performs with her dad, Norman Coppinger of Davis, who plays Dr. Coppelius in “Coppélia.”

One of the hallmarks of Hanneke & Co. is the family atmosphere. Currently, at least nine families have multiple dancers in the ballet.

Kaitlin Coppinger recently announced that she’ll be relocating to Florida in August for an internship with the Walt Disney Co. As for her long-term plans, “I ultimately plan to attend graduate school in economics or international relations,” she said.

Will she miss dancing with Hanneke & Co.?

“Absolutely,” Coppinger replied. “I have lived at the ballet studio for most of my life. I identify myself first and foremost as a ballerina, but that’s going to be changing now.”

For Lohse, after so many years of teaching, the transition of students is getting a little easier.

“It is not so hard anymore, as they always come back,” she said. “I’m not just some ballet teacher; I teach them to succeed in school and life. I can’t think of anyone I have taught who is not succeeding in life.”

Notes: During the three evening performances, there will be wine-tasting from Mevany Wines in the Oakville District of the Napa Valley. The wine is 100 percent handcrafted in small quantities in Davis by one of Hanneke and Co.’s ballet families. Three different vintages (2007, 2008 and 2009) of four varietals — syrah, cabernet, merlot and pinot noir — will be poured. There is a $5 suggested donation with 100 percent of proceeds going to Hanneke & Co. 



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