North Delta’s Kyla Couper is performing as part of Coastal City Ballet’s production of Swan Lake, coming to the Vancouver Playhouse on May 18 and the Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey on June 15. (James Smith photo)

North Delta ballerina to perform in Swan Lake

Kyla Couper will dance in Coastal City Ballet’s Swan Lake in Vancouver May 18 and Surrey June 15

A local dancer is getting set to take the stage in Coastal City Ballet’s production of the classic Swan Lake.

“Ever since I was young I’ve been really wanting to perform in Swan Lake,” said 21-year-old Kyla Couper. “I’m so excited to be finally performing in Swan Lake because it’s something that every ballerina will do during their career.”

Couper, who grew up in North Delta, began her dance career when she was four at the Surrey Dance Centre, which closed when she was in Grade 10. Knowing she wanted to continue dancing, she chose to focus on ballet, auditioning for various ballet schools and eventually earning a scholarship to attend the renowned Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.

Though only 15 at the time, Couper moved to the Big Apple and attended Joffrey’s four-year trainee program while also continuing her regular education online.

“I moved away from all of my family and went by myself, so that was kind of tough,” she said.

“Like cooking all my meals for myself, I had done a little bit of that before I left but my mom was still helping with that of course, so that was a little bit of an adjustment. But it didn’t take too long to get used to it.”

North Delta’s Kyla Couper is performing as part of Coastal City Ballet’s production of Swan Lake, coming to the Vancouver Playhouse on May 15 and the Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey on June 15. (James Smith photo)

“I think that I was really open to the transition,” she continued. “I spent like 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. training at the school and I was super excited about that the entire time, and then after that I would go home with some of the dancers. We were living together in an apartment, so it sort of felt like we still had a little community, it was like my family away from home.”

After taking a year off to dance with Ballet Kelowna and perform in Coastal City’s production of Giselle in spring 2017, Couper returned to New York to complete her training at the Joffrey, graduating in May 2018.

Since coming home, she has performed in Courtenay, Victoria and Nanaimo as part of the Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular (“It’s like a glitzy, fun musical theatre Christmas show. It’s a big hit over there on the Island,”) and has started teaching aspiring dancers at DanceWest in Surrey, Cloverdale’s Aspire Fine Arts School and Burnaby’s Danzmode Productions.

But it’s Coastal City’s production of Swan Lake that Couper’s most passionate about these days.

“I’ve done little excerpts of Swan Lake before but I’ve never done the full ballet, so I’m really excited,” she said.

Swan Lake tells the story of Odette, a princess under the spell of a sorcerer who spends her days as a white swan and her nights in human form, who falls in love with Prince Siegfried. When the evil Rothbart presents his daughter Odile (the black swan) to the prince, Siegfried proposes, thinking the enchanted Odile to be his love Odette. Siegfried, realizing his mistake, chases after the heartbroken Odette, explaining what has happened and begging her forgiveness. Their happy reunion is dashed when Rothbart shows up, demanding the prince follow through on his engagement to Odile.

Swan Lake is one of the only ballets that you can see again and again. Whether it’s your first time or your hundredth, the experience is truly magical,” Coastal City Ballet’s artistic director, Katrina Bois, said in a press release.

Back by popular demand, the production reunites Coastal City with choreographer Irene Schneider, who worked on the company’s sold out run in 2016.

“Schneider’s Swan Lake was designed to be seen over and over again because you find little details in it each time that make it exciting and fresh,” Bois said. “The story itself is magical as it is, but with the addition of Schneider’s subtle yet realistic plot twists you’ll discover something new every year.”

Couper will be performing as part of the corps de ballet — the equivalent to the chorus in a musical — playing a swan in the second and fourth acts and a polonaise dancer in the third.

North Delta’s Kyla Couper is performing as part of Coastal City Ballet’s production of Swan Lake, coming to the Vancouver Playhouse on May 15 and the Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey on June 15. (James Smith photo)

“[Swan Lake] is really technically challenging for the dancers, and for the corps members there’s lots of parts where we have to stand very, very still for long periods of time, so that can be hard as well because you’re like sweating, you’re shaking trying to stay still,” she said.

“We’re practicing getting all our poses the same. We have to stand and look like a swan, but right now we’re working on the details so that our heads are all turned the exact same angle, our eyes are all looking in the same spot, our fingers are all in same spot, so that’s the tough part.”

Coastal City Ballet’s production of Swan Lake comes the Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton St., Vancouver) on Saturday, May 18 and the Bell Performing Arts Centre (6250 144th St., Surrey) on June 15. Tickets range from $19.95 to $59.95, with discounts for groups of 10 or more.

For tickets to the Vancouver show, head to vtixonline.com or call 604-241-7292.

For tickets to the Surrey show, visit tickets.bellperformingartscentre.com or call 604-507-6355.



editor@northdeltareporter.com

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North Delta’s Kyla Couper rehearses with dance partner João Cabral in preparation for Coastal City Ballet’s production of Swan Lake, coming to the Vancouver Playhouse on May 18 and the Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey on June 15. (James Smith photo)

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