Night and Day: Wednesday, October 1, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Big Ben Chimes

With a shakedown season already under his belt, Ben Stevenson inaugurates his new look at Texas Ballet Theater with three performances of Coppélia this weekend. This is the Houston Ballet version he choreographed 15 years ago while artistic director there, with sets and costumes designed to great acclaim by Desmond Heeley.

“I don’t believe in superimposing the classics on arbitrary settings, so you won’t see the ballet reflecting the Amsterdam drug scene of the 1970s or some such nonsense,” Stevenson said. “It’s a straight forward look at a 19th-century comedy, heavy on the comedy.” With the leading ballerina called Swanhilde and her boyfriend named Franz, you know you’re not in Kansas — you’re actually in the middle of a European fairy tale. The brief doll dance from the old French ballet might be familiar to some, but the rest of the choreography is pure Stevenson.

Three pairs of dancers will perform the leading roles: Michelle Gifford and Ronnie Underwood on Friday, Enrica Guana Tseng and Grant Dettling on Saturday, and Jayme Autry and John Henry Reid on Sunday. Tim O’Keefe will pantomime Dr. Coppelius at each performance.

O’Keefe, a former principal with the Houston Ballet, was brought here as Stevenson’s assistant. As might be expected, a number of Houston Ballet personnel made their way to Fort Worth with Stevenson, including eight of the company’s 10 new dancers, ballet master Li Anlin, and chief rehearsal pianist, Jack Buchanan, who is now music director and conductor for TBT. — Leonard Eureka

8pm Fri-Sat, 2pm Sun at Bass Performance Hall, 555 Commerce St, FW. $15-87. 1-877-212-4280.


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