Shanghai Ballet graces the stage in "Coppelia" at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


Image: Shanghai BalletThe Shanghai Ballet, a mesmerizing troupe known for its repertoire of classical and folk ballets, will perform "Coppelia" on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University. The Quick Center presentation is the first in its 2002-2003 Dance America series and will be followed by an "Art to Heart" question-and-answer session with the company.

Organized in 1979, the Shanghai Ballet rose to prominence when it staged the 20th-century Chinese ballet, "The White-Haired Girl." The company adheres to the international traditions of classical ballet, performing "Swan Lake," "Giselle," "Don Quixote" and "The Nutcracker," but it recognizes the importance of creating ballets based on folk traditions as well. Original works include "Thunderstorm" and "Ah Q," and its recent large-scale works, "Love of Butterfly" and "Gries."

Over the years, many dancers from the Shanghai Ballet have won medals in international dance competitions. In July 2000, Fan Xiaofeng and Sun Shenyi won the gold medals for male and female dancers in the 19th International Ballet Competition of Varna in Bulgaria. The pair, their fellow principals Chen Zhenrong, Ji Pingping and other company members are emerging as seasoned interpreters of their art.

Led by Director Ha Muti and Artistic Associate Xin Lili, the Shanghai Ballet is active in cultural exchanges with other countries, touring in major venues in Canada, France, the United States, Australia, Singapore, Japan and several other regions.

"Coppelia" is one of the most famous ballets the Shanghai company performs. First presented in Paris in 1870, it is a timeless story of love and misperceptions set in a beautiful Polish village. On one side of the village square is the home of the heroine, Swanilda. On the other is the mysterious workshop of Dr. Coppelius, a toymaker suspected of possessing magical gifts. The story hinges on Swanilda's mistaken belief that the toymaker's life-sized doll, Coppelia, is actually a lovely girl with an eye for Swanilda's sweetheart Frantz.

Heartbroken but determined, Swanilda and her friends sneak into the toymaker's shop, where they realize their mistake and dance gaily with the collection of dolls dressed in colorful ethnic costumes from around the world. A lively mazurka by the villagers and plenty of romantic merriment and intrigue fill out this memorable ballet.

Tickets to the performance range in price from $25 to $40. For tickets or more information, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-ARTS-396 or visit the website, www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 10, 2002

Vol. 35, No. 19