Coppelia, a fiancée with enameled eyes ...

"An aesthetic treat all the time,

sensitive and intelligent, as rarely look,

 body and the mind all mixed together, could be tasted. "

Aurore Busser - 4 december 2009 

Nice Matin 

























































...Dress our Leather Coppélia. Look at Coppélia with the eyes of a big child, when this puppet will be ‘mistress’ of the game, ‘mistress’ of the heart of her suitors.

Being inspired by a work on puppet theatre by Henrich Von Kleist, I would like to make you believe that a mechanical puppet could contain more charm than the frame of the human body.

Through love of Frantz, Swanilda takes the place of Coppélia the puppet. At least that’s how it goes in the booklet…
What if Coppélia had’nt been replaced?

Using this amusing book, profiting from the unfinished work and rewriting it, and also taking the music composed by Léo Délibes, the waltz but also (and most especially) the exhilarating mazurka.

Redrawing Coppélia…using an eraser and some colour crayons, take off or add here and there some fantasies…a lot of red but also some black, as black as those ‘shiny, shiny boots of leather’ worn by Séverine in ‘Venus in furs’ by ‘The Velvet Underground’. Equally as pretty, the costume will be blackened. The ‘pointe’ will be replaced by the stiletto heel, the knot in the hair by the whip.

Using certain ingredients which have been the base of ballet ‘par excellence’. Using the pantomime to serve to create sense of situation that too much narrative might censor. Perhaps all of this may render the subject more comprehensible and reveals it’s meaning.

Highlighting this immense love for Coppélia to the point of replacing her admirers by young males, slaves to their own feelings. Coppélia fascinates, but it is only a puppet, not alive but yet…

Our Coppélia was created with the help of the dancers and especially Alexandra Besnier and Min-Jeong Kim who reside in a ‘reinvented Coppélia’. More than just working on character interpretation, they are my accomplices in exercing this fascinating and bewitching power of seduction. They ceselessly remind me that Coppélia, although invisible, is always there.

Perhaps Coppélius is also the evocation of all those dark reasons originating from our quest for love and beauty, which weigh unconsciously on our tastes, our choices. For me Frantz is not in love with Coppélia but with all that he aspires to. Maybe he resembles all of us?

“There exists no being capable of loving another such as he is. We always ask for modifications. This is because we never love just a phantom; that which is real cannot be desired”
Paul Valéry 

Lastly, I chose the scene as to evoke the bedroom of Coppélia. Therefore the public will be lower down in the house of Coppélius and will perceive Coppélia similar to how Frantz observed her from his balcony in 1870.

I would like to particularly thank the dancers Wilfride Piollet and Monique Loudières for our discussions which helped to enlighten me.

Hervé Koubi – Extacts from his notebook



Coppelia, a fiancee with enameled eyes ...





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Choreographer: Hervé KOUBI
Assistant choreographer : Guillaume GABRIEL
Creatice assistance: Benjamin BAC / Alexandre DA SILVA / Mamajung KIM

Interpretation: Alexandra BESNIER / Guillaume GABRIEL / David GUASGUA / Min-Jeong KIM / Carl PORTAL / Carlos FERREIRA DA SILVA

Musicians: Léo DELIBES and Kronos Quatett

Costume Design: Guillaume GABRIEL / Cécile LABRUNIE (research work)

Lighting design: Lionel BUZONIE


Production: Compagnie Hervé KOUBI - Co-production: City of Cannes Direction of Cultural Affairs - Made in Cannes / City of Brive-la-Gaillarde / Cultural Center of Loudéac - Conventional stage - micro plateaux / Festival Danse de Vallauris / National Choreographic Center of Nantes - Claude Brumachon and Benjamin Lamarche / Ballet Biarritz - Thierry Malandain National Choreographic Center.

With the support of the Festival Cadences - Scène conventionné plateau for dance, the Théâtre de la Grange in Brive-la-Gaillarde, the Théâtre de la Licorne in Cannes, Théâtre de Cusset, the Théâtre de l'Olivier d'Istres - Art of gesture, the House of the Dance of Istres, the current Studies of the dance of Vallauris, the Cultural Center Jean-Pierre Fabrègue of Saint-Yrieix-La-Perche, La Fabrique de Guéret, 'The Lock of La Souterraine, the Cultural Center of Tergnier, the Juliette Theater Gréco de Carros, the Medocquine of Talence, the Cultural Center of Sarlat, the Theater of Saint Lô - Scène conventionne around the writings, the Vanves Theater Festival Artdanthé, the Art and Communication House of Sallaumines, the Cultural Center of Arques, the MJC de Rodez, the Théâtre de Villefranche de Rouergue, the Center Culturel de Digoin, the Théâtre de Sarcelles, the Cultural Center of Saint Martin The Boulogne, the Center Culturel de Bergerac, the Théâtre de Saint Dizier, the Preau de Vire - Regional Dramatic Center, the Théâtre de l'Hôtel de Ville Saint Barthélémy d'Anjou, the Théâtre de Montauban, the Théâtre de Montargis, the Segre Cultural Center , the Théâtre de Verdun, the Côte d'Opale Danse association, the Brive-la-Gaillarde Book Fair, the Compagnie Thor - Art Direction Thierry Smits from Brussels, the Cannes Dance School Rosella Higtower- Artistic direction Monique Loudières.