Dancers to take curtain call Reunion: Former members of the National Ballet will return to perform in the company's 50th anniversary production, "Coppelia."

May 28, 1998|By Judith Green | Judith Green,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For the finale of its golden anniversary season, the National Ballet will hold a company reunion in the form of a ballet at Anne Arundel Community College this weekend.

"We'll have four generations of dancers," says artistic director Pamela Moore, whose mother, Helen Moore, founded the National Ballet School in 1948.

The company, based in Bowie, and its school, based in Crofton, will present the 19th-century comic ballet "Coppelia" at AACC's Pascal Center Saturday.

The performance is also the school's spring showcase, but the focus will be on the professional dancers trained by Helen and Pamela Moore.

The story of "Coppelia" allows for many guest appearances. Coppelia is a lifelike mechanical doll invented by Dr. Coppelius, the mad scientist in stories by the early 19th-century German writer E.T.A. Hoffmann.

Coppelius puts his doll on the balcony of his house to "read." When Franz, the village hunk, sees her, he immediately forgets his fiancee, Swanilda, and falls in love with Coppelia, though he can't understand why. When he waves at her, she never waves back.

In the second act, Swanilda sneaks into Coppelius' workshop to confront her rival and discovers the truth. She disguises herself as the doll and goes haywire in the scientist's laboratory.

In the first and third acts (the wedding of Swanilda and Franz), where most of the dancing occurs, Rebecca Link will dance as Swanilda.

In the second act, which is mostly mime and physical comedy, Pamela Moore will take over the role. She first danced the role with her brother, William Moore Jr., as Franz. He is now a vice president of ABC-TV News.

Jacob Rice, a guest artist from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, will perform the role of Franz. He is married to former company member Kimmary Williams, the godmother and namesake of Pamela Moore's oldest daughter, Kimmary MacLean, a student at AACC.

John E. Thornton, who will play Coppelius, created the role in the 1963 production by the company, which then was called the Prince George's Ballet. Herbert Poe, who has been Coppelius in earlier productions, will be the burgermeister, or mayor, of the village.

Among those playing Coppelia's friends will be Patricia Suto and Elaine McHale Seidman, teachers at the National Ballet School, who first performed as students in the 1975 production, when the company was called the Regional Ballet of Washington. They also will have solos in the Act III divertissement.

Students at the school will form the corps de ballet, performing such showpieces as the czardas and mazurka.

The production uses about 75 dancers, about 65 of them students.

The music of "Coppelia," written by Leo Delibes. is among the best-known works of ballet literature. Swanilda's waltz is particularly famous.

In addition to the veteran dancers on stage, the audience will include former company members. The performance will be followed by a reception in the lobby in honor of Helen Moore and the National Ballet School.

"Coppelia"

What: National Ballet

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Pascal Center, Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold

Tickets: $12

Information: 301-249-1178

Pub Date: 5/28/98

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