“For me, this is my most challenging role so far.”
CBJ’s touring production, Coppélia: A Comedy With Love, is a delight for audiences and dancers alike. Annelie Liliemark performs the lead role of Klara, a doll overcome with jealousy after her sweetheart, Nathanael, becomes enamoured with Dr. Coppélius’ stunning life-sized doll, Coppélia. Klara enacts revenge by disguising herself as Coppélia and tricking Dr. Coppélius into bringing her to life.
Annelie takes some time out of the CBJ performance tour to chat about the pleasures and challenges of playing Klara and her favourite elements of this unique ballet.
How would you describe your character in Coppélia?
I play Klara, who is called Swanilda in the original version of the ballet. She’s a very cheeky character! In the beginning, she’s a doll without complicated emotions. She’s in love with Nathanael, but since she is a doll, she doesn’t quite know what love is; she doesn’t have a heart. Later, after she tricks Dr. Coppélius by pretending to be his doll, Coppélia, he brings her to life by giving her a heart. Then there is more depth to her character, and she begins to feel anger, guilt, disappointment and confusion. She’s trying to figure herself out in this world.
What do you love most about dancing the role of Klara?
I really like that it’s a technically challenging role. It’s very interesting to work on as a dancer. I also love when I start playfully dancing with Dr. Coppélius in the second act because it is one of the funnier parts; but right after that is the transformation from doll to human, which is very emotional. You can feel the transformation in your body.
What is the biggest challenge of playing Klara?
For me, this is my most challenging role so far. It challenges me both emotionally and physically. I’m dancing a lot with two partners: Nathanael (danced by Daniel Da Silva) and Dr. Coppélius (danced by Hiroto Saito). Having the stamina to get through the ballet is challenge number one. From the starting scene to the very end, I am carrying the story. If I don’t tell the story very well, the audience won’t understand. That responsibility is a very big challenge. I also have to feel strong enough technically so that I can really explore the emotions. My partners, Daniel and Hiroto, are both seasoned dancers who really help me on stage. We carry the story together.
What do you love about this ballet?
I really like having fun with the audience. It’s a funny ballet, but also has emotional depth and drama. I think audiences will love it because it’s entertaining, but also holds something deeper.
CBJ’s tour of Coppélia: A Comedy with Love continues to the end of April. Visit our season calendar to find a performance near you. It’s a production you won’t want to miss.
Written by Victoria Campbell Windle, CBJ Communications Contributor.
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