Live football, mischief and dancing dolls

Written by Amelia Wise
Image by David Kelly

Live football, mischief and dancing dolls

Queensland Ballet’s Coppélia is classic met with an Australian twist, you do not want to miss!


There is no better way to beat the approaching cooler weather than a cosy night at the ballet. The opening night for Queensland Ballet’s Coppélia was full of warmth as guests were eager to see a show that hadn’t been here in ten years.  

Coppélia is classic but it’s not all leotards and tutus, Greg Horsman has exceeded this with an Australian twist that makes the performance more engaging as we feel a connection to home. The set design by Hugh Colman truly carried this with the warm outback sun, backed up by Jon Buswell’s lighting, slowly setting as Act 1 takes place. My favourite was the single magpie perched on a balcony, and it’s the tiny details like this that made the show so special. Each act and prop seamlessly flowed amongst the dancers, it was as if we were watching a movie, it was so flawless. Not to mention the football scene, trust me if you have a friend that doesn’t typically go to the ballet, tell them this one has a live footy match.

This warm and welcoming set contrasted with the eerie house of Dr Coppélius. The set was so good that I felt as frightened as the characters in the story. With the stage moving in shocking ways, you wouldn’t thought possible. Act 2 was definitely a favourite amongst the crowd purely for the set design. This combined with the music by Léo Delibes, you are drawn in to find out what Dr Coppélius will do next.

What I loved is that every single person had a district story to tell. There were no mere side characters, everyone had a story, and I could rewatch it all over again just to focus on a different dancer each time. Although audiences may be intimidated by three acts, fear not as each one ends with you wanting more.

I can’t imagine the story without the Australian aspects intertwined, it tied everything together so well. This is a perfect show for those who have never been to a ballet as you will see live football, mischief and dancing dolls on stage, I promise it is not what you are expecting.

Make sure to see Queensland Ballet’s charming Coppélia before it’s gone, running June 7-22.

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Amelia is a Griffith University journalism student who has been offered the title of ‘Guest Reviewer’ for our 2024 Season – an opportunity to attend and review the Opening Night performance of every production throughout our Season. We’re proud to partner with Griffith University and provide students with real-world experiences.


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We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. Long before we performed on this land, it played host to the dance expression of our First Peoples. We pay our respects to their Elders — past, present and emerging — and acknowledge the valuable contribution they have made and continue to make to the cultural landscape of this country.

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