The Miami City Ballet's Coppélia is a candy box production featuring Mary Carmen Catoya in the leading role of Swanilda. Light as a feather, it takes her a few minutes to settle into the role. But once she does, she is marvelous. Coppélia is a fairy tale production with toys that come to life, mistaken identity, an old man who is made a fool of and the usual happy ending with the lovers reconciled.
This is a lovely physical production with a pastel setting in Acts I and III. Act II, in the toymaker's house, is darker and feels dusty and dank. Beautiful lighting illuminates the dancers.
And the dancers, oh the dancers! They are so well trained and rehearsed. Reyneris Reyes dances Franz, the male lead to Catoya's Swanilda. They are particularly effective in the Act III pas de deux displaying lyrical balance and control. In his solo he showed his ability with elevation, leaping and turning while reaching great heights.
Didier Bramaz danced the role of Dr. Coppelius, the doll maker. Having seen him in leading roles, it was fun to watch him as an aged man, scooting across the stage with tiny scuffing steps. He brought a wonderful sense of comedy to the part. And what fun to watch Dr. Coppelius bring the pretty doll to life with the sweat of her smitten beau, Franz.
Others who stood out include Callie Manning, Kleber Rebello, Nicole Stalker and Renan Cerdeiro as the lead couples in the Mazurka/Czardas section. Both men danced spectacularly in their solos. The costumes, for this section are colorful and move beautifully on the female dancers.
Nina Queiroz needs special mention for her Coppélia performance, which included almost an hour of sitting still as the doll.
In Act III, Sara Esty, Emily Bromberg and Sarah Lauren were featured and all danced beautifully with excellent footwork and an amazing ability to sustain movement. The costuming for these dancers was particularly beautiful moving and flowing as they danced.
This is the next to last full season with Artistic Director Edward Villella at the helm of the Miami City Ballet. The appointment of Lourdes Lopez as Artistic Director beginning in May 2013 will be a big change for the company as Villella created and developed the company founded (with Toby Lerner Ansin) in 1985.
Coppélia is repeated at the Kravis Center in Palm Beach from April 13 through 15. For more information and tickets, go to miamicityballet.org.