Classical ballet is only seen in the Capital once a year during the Abu Dhabi Festival (ADF). For two nights in a row over the weekend, the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) performed ‘Coppelia’, an enchanting, light-hearted ballet.
The two and a half hours ballet in three acts marked the first ever performance of ABT, which is considered the USA’s national ballet company, in Abu Dhabi. “One of the leading classical ballet companies in the world, American Ballet Theatre, was a wonder to behold. Most importantly, it is the type of performance that inspires Middle Eastern audiences to realise why the theatre is such a magical place, and why dance is not a luxury or a frill, but a necessity of life,” said Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo, founder of ADF, after the Friday night show.
Based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, who also wrote the original ‘The Nutcracker’, the story is, of course, about love.
Coppelia is a beautiful mechanical doll created by Dr Coppelius, which rouses the affections of Franz, who is engaged to Swanilda.
An evil Dr Coppelius tries to steal Franz’s spirit to bring his mechanical doll to life, but in the world of fairy tales, all ends well, so clever Swanilda finds a way to save Franz.
Accompanied by Germany’s excellent Dresden Philharmonic orchestra, the ABT put up a magnificent performance. “As a dancer, I have been so lucky to criss-cross the globe a couple of times over. However, ABT’s appearance in Abu Dhabi is my very first visit to the UAE. I think it’s particularly gratifying to bring our art form to a new audience, and I thoroughly enjoyed dancing the role of Franz in ABT’s Coppelia at this year’s Abu Dhabi Festival,” said Daniil Simkin, principal dancer with ABT.
The festival’s main programme will end on March 31 with award-winning Lebanese pianist and arranger, Michel Fadel, who will debut in the UAE with his concert.
The evening will feature an array of traditional songs of the Levant with a contemporary electronic fusion spirit, featuring the renowned flautist and duduk (a flute like woodwind instrument from Armenia) player, Pedro Eustache.
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