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My Living Doll: Continental Ballet at CLC

The Continental Ballet Company’s will perform Coppelia with two performances Sept. 30 in the Chalberg Theatre at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. The production is part of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center concert series. Submitted

Ballet is returning to Brainerd when the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center at

Central Lakes College presents the Continental Ballet Company's production of Coppelia.

Two performances are scheduled at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30, in the Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus.

Continental Ballet Company is a professional touring company based in Bloomington. The company is recognized by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C. The founder/director is Riet Velthusien, is a native of Holland.

Coppelia is the story of a doll-maker who tries to bring a beautiful doll to life. Dr. Coppélius is a

doctor who makes a life-size dancing doll. It is so lifelike that Franz, a village boy, becomes

infatuated with it and sets aside his true heart's desire, Swanhilda. She shows him his folly by

dressing as the doll, pretending to make it come to life and ultimately saving him from an

untimely end at the hands of the inventor.

This ballet mixes razor-sharp story-mime with bravura classical dance, a news release stated. It is a ballet for persons of all ages.

"We presented the Continental Ballet Company as part of our series last September," Patrick Spradlin, the director of the center, stated. "Their performance of 'Cinderella' sold out as soon as

it was announced. We added a second show, a matinee, and sold it out as well. We thought that

ballet might be a risky venture for us, but we were clearly proven wrong."

Spradlin chose Continental for several reasons.

"First, they're Minnesota-based," he stated. "And they have a mission of reaching young people through the arts that is also part of our mission. And, their performances last year were met with such enthusiasm."

Continental Ballet Company was founded in 1988 by Velthuisen. Velthuisen has danced professionally with several European ballet companies, including the Dutch National Ballet. Velthuisen studied classical ballet in Amsterdam, The Hague and Paris.

The company is a member of the Bloomington Fine Arts Council and resides at the Bloomington Center for the Arts. The performers are professional dancers and can include as many as 30 dancers for a single production. In addition to the performing company, Continental Ballet Company operates a studio of ballet offering dance lessons for students of all ages and abilities. Tickets for Coppelia are available online at or from the CLC box office at 855-8199.

This show is sponsored by Essentia Health. The CLC Performing Arts Center season is

made possible in part by an operating grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a

legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

***Correction: Due to incorrect information supplied to the Dispatch, Thursday’s Entertainment story on the Continental Ballet Company coming to Brainerd, incorrectly stated that the company is on the John F. Kennedy Center’s Roster of Approved Artists. It is not.

The Dispatch regrets the error.