Cassie on Coppélia
Hello! My name is Cassie Parker and I’m a digital marketing intern with FAB. I consider myself a bit obsessive with ballet and theatre, and although any childhood hopes of becoming a ‘prima-ballerina’ are long-gone, it has been an absolute thrill to be involved with FAB over the past year.
At 4, I was slotted into the local ballet studio, “Miss McGirr’s School of Ballet,” where I continue to take classes today. Every dancer, no matter how long ago, remembers their first performance and cherishes their first costume/character. While many young ballerinas assume the role of a flower or a fairy, my earliest ballet memory was performing as a fish swimming below Captain Hook’s boat in Peter Pan. A fellow fishie fell over in front of me during the routine, but as the show must go on, I ran past my friend without missing a beat in my spring pointes.
Coppèlia holds a dear place in my heart, and I am forever grateful to my selfless grandmother who gave up her ticket for me in November 2016. To me, no other traditional ballet moves, both physically and emotionally, in the way that Coppèlia does. Although there is beautiful acting in Giselle, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, I have never been more immersed in the ballet than watching every character be (literally) animated in Coppèlia. Ako Kondo’s strong-willed Swanhilda was a character I had rarely seen on the classical stage, and the physicality within Dr Coppelius’ toy room still amazes me. There was a crash dummy in the room, which was strewn on a chair, folding his limbs such unnatural angles that I almost swore it was a stuffed doll (it wasn’t!).
However, the storyline of Dr Coppelius is tragically beautiful, and the complexity of his character being both an antagonist as well as the victim is a plot device that has left me thinking years after the curtain fell.
Another iconic aspect of the ballet is the music. Leo Delibes’ score retells the story as if it were a book – it’s hard to describe, but although it has been years since I last saw the stage performance, the score still brings me very close to the emotions of the storyline, immersing me in the animatronic amazement of the toy room, as well as the broken-hearted despair of Dr Coppelius.
It’s a very exciting time at the moment – my ballet classes have just started back, and my ballet school is setting up a few holiday classes to help regain some lost technique. I am very excited to stream Coppèlia on BalletTV, and I’m hoping to finally watch it with my Grandma from her home
A VIRTUAL NIGHT AT THE BALLET
GRAEME MURPHY’S SWAN LAKE
In recognition of your ongoing support of The Friends of The Australian Ballet we invite you and your household to join us for
The Australian Ballet’s inaugural online event, A Virtual Night at the Ballet.
You will be treated to a live and interactive pre-performance talk with creator Graeme Murphy AO where we will explore his legendary production of
Swan Lake, followed by a screening of the performance via The Australian Ballet’s Ballet TV.
Thursday 2 July
7pm Pre-Performance Talk and Q&A
Hosted by Brooke Lockett with Special Guest Graeme Murphy AO
7.30pm Swan Lake
Your finest video conference attire
RSVP by Monday 29 June
Event access details will be emailed to guests at 5pm Thursday 2 July.
Ella Havelka during The Australian Ballet’s 2016 Swan Lake tour in Beijing, photo by Lisa Tomasetti
Ella Havelka is a Wiradjuri woman and the first Indigenous dancer to join The Australian Ballet. Describing an old video tape of Swan Lake as the initial inspiration for her journey through dance and ballet, Ella began dancing in Dubbo before joining The Australian Ballet School in 2007. After graduating from ABS, she danced with Bangarra until 2012, appearing in Mathinna, of earth & sky, Belong, Spirit and Terrain. In 2012, Ella performed in Australia and New York with Bangarra and The Australian Ballet in Warumuk – in the dark night, a collaborative work created by Stephen Page for The Australian Ballet’s 50th anniversary celebrations. She joined The Australian Ballet in 2013. In 2016, Ella was the subject of an eponymously titled documentary centring on her dance journey, which was released at the Melbourne International Film Festival. In 2019 Ella guested with Bangarra for its 30th anniversary program; she was named most outstanding dancer in Dance Australia Magazine for her performance in Jiří Kylián’s Stamping Ground, part of that program.
During Reconciliation Week this year, Fashion Journal chatted to Ella about her career and the different worlds of working with both The Australian Ballet and Bangarra. Read the interview here.
If you want more Ella, listen to her conversation with Libby Gore on the ABC’s This Weekend Life here.
In a world embracing technology to stay connected FAB shares a ballet image for members using Zoom. Upload our ballet backdrop to add some colour to your next virtual catchup.
To download a backdrop, either right click if using a mouse, or press and hold if you using a tablet. Follow our Zoom Backdrop Guide for instructions on adding backdrops to your next Zoom call.
Photo by Angus Scott
Photo by Lexy Potts
Photo by Lexy Potts
Look the part on the lounge this winter as you watch your favourite dance flick. Try your hand at knitting some cute and cosy ballet leg warmers with this fun easy pattern.
This pattern is great for anyone who is learning to knit, or for experienced knitters looking to whip something up quickly.
Download the pattern here.
FAB Admin Manager Amy has been enjoying having more time to knit throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. She is currently working on a pair of fingerless gloves to keep her hands warm while working at home, and adding the finishing touches to a scarf she has been knitting since January.