The Kids of Coppélia

Boston Ballet School students in pink tutus on stage in the production of George Balanchine's Coppelia.

Ashley Ellis and Boston Ballet School students in Balanchine's Coppélia ©The George Balanchine Trust

Photo credit: Rosalie O'Connor

For Boston Ballet School students, performing in Coppélia alongside Company dancers is a dream-come-true experience.

Rehearsals for Coppélia are demanding, but classes have prepared the students well.

Photo credit: Brooke Trisolini

With sweet details like pink tulle and roses, the costumes for students in Coppélia are a little girl’s dream.

Photo credit: Brooke Trisolini

Rehearsals for Coppélia are demanding, but classes have prepared the students well.

Photo credit: Brooke Trisolini

With sweet details like pink tulle and roses, the costumes for students in Coppélia are a little girl’s dream.

Photo credit: Brooke Trisolini

Boston Ballet School students have the exclusive opportunity to perform in The Nutcracker every year. This season, 36 students are also getting the chance to participate in Coppélia, George Balanchine’s family-friendly romantic comedy that is considered “the happiest ballet in existence” (The New York Times).

Boston Ballet School students Isabella Scott, Clara Delcamino-Yang, and Camryn Daniel share their journey—from auditions to rehearsals to performing on the Boston Opera House stage.

Practice makes perfect

Auditioning for productions is an opportunity reserved solely for BBS students. Nearly 60 students from the Boston, Newton, and North Shore studios auditioned to be a part of the corps of students in Coppélia. “When I first found out I was cast, my friend and I ran over to each other and started jumping up and down. We were super excited,” says 11-year-old Isabella Scott.

Scott, who has performed in The Nutcracker before, notes that the rehearsals for Coppélia are more demanding. “The choreography is different. The Nutcracker is a lot of acting; this is a lot more dancing.” 

Faculty Member Melissa Reed further explains, “The students dance for a substantial amount of Act III without ever leaving the stage. It takes a lot of preparation and attention to detail, but also empowers the dancers to challenge their mental focus.”

While it is physically and mentally demanding, the students are well prepared for the experience. “The foundation of a student’s preparation for the stage is in class. This is true not only from a technical standpoint, but also in building an awareness of themselves and others,” Reed says.

Boston Ballet School students in pink tutus on stage in the production of George Balanchine's Coppelia.

Boston Ballet School in Balanchine's Coppélia ©The George Balanchine Trust

Photo credit: Rosalie O'Connor

Time to shine

Throughout the process, the students learn valuable lessons in time management, professionalism, and dedication. “It’s really fun because it feels like you’re a professional because you have costume fittings and dressing rooms backstage just like the Company dancers,” says 13-year-old Clara Delcamino-Yang. “When we finally have the chance to perform, it’s a great feeling because we worked so hard and now we get to share it with other people.”

“It makes me feel really special that I get to do something not many people have the opportunity to do,” says Scott.

Getting nervous before the performance is inevitable, but the students’ nerves disappear once they step on stage. “All your training has prepared you for this one moment,” 14-year-old Camryn Daniel says.

“It’s a really good feeling. I hope the kids in the audience feel inspired by it, knowing they could do it too,” Delcamino-Yang shares. Her best advice for fellow students who have never performed on stage before? “Smile. Definitely smile and breathe.”

“In the end, you’re just having fun,” adds Scott, who hopes the audience feels the same. “It’s a very happy ballet so I want everyone to go home and feel like, wow that was really fun and exciting.”

Coppélia

Mar 21–31, 2019

The illusion we create is intended to deepen your understanding of reality.

Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director
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