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Culture: Review: Young dancers shine in spotlight.

Byline: Richard Edmonds

English Youth Ballet Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

The structure of English Youth Ballet has been shaped carefully in order to bring a classical ballet to a particular city where the organisers use the local dancers setting them within a professional framework.

For this production of Coppelia , the leading parts were danced by Emma Lister (Swanilda) and Roddie Patrizio (Franz) both of whom showed a competency which caught nicely at the Bravura requirements of the well known choreography.

For the hundred or so young people who crowded onto the stage to give us the betrothal dances, prayer dances and so on, things which give Coppelia its essential charm, things were not quite so fluid and we move into Amdram structures.

But the main thing in activities of this kind was the sheer enjoyment which was evident on every side from very very young children to those in their teens. The little boys behaved like well-mannered beaux, kissing their ladies' hands as if to the manor born, while the older boys and girls (particularly the girls) had, in some cases a style and confidence which left me hoping great things for the future.

The moment in the toy shop sequence where Swanilda is surrounded by her nervous friends is very good. And if the magical dancing dolls were multiplied several times over in order to accommodate the dozens of smiling munchkins who obviously wanted to have a go, then that is fine by me, since I was an elf in a little green jacket when I was their age and I can still remember today the heart-stopping thrill of the lights, the audience and the make-up.

The scenery and lighting was more third-rate panto than anything else. But none of that bothered these young creatures who danced their hearts out with a touching generosity of spirit and I congratulate them for having the courage to get up there and do it.

From many in the audience the evening provided merely an opportunity to comment loudly on the dancers, to guzzle pop or to chobble loudly endless bags of sweets - the noise you can imagine.


The young dancers in Coppelia
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 21, 2004
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