Coppella Main

A Ballet with 75 Performers

By Mike V. Derderian

The hall was overflowing with people. Wherever one looked there was someone sitting on the footsteps of the carpeted aisles of the theatre at the Royal Cultural Centre.

It was a Saturday, and to be more specific the 25th of October, 2014.

A month later I decided to write a review of the wonderful ballet, choreographed by the ever glowing Rania Kamhawi; a review I was supposed to write the moment I’ve returned home.

I was there with my wife and daughter Amie and like anything you would expect from The King Hussein Foundation: The National Centre for Culture & Art it was an evening of enchantment.

If there was any shortcoming, and there was one, it was not the fault of the 75 performers, Miss Kamhawi and the artistic and technical team behind Coppélia as a production; it was that of the theatre itself: It was too small for such an unforgettable beautiful performance.

Coppélia, as a ballet transcended the boundaries of the narrow stage of the Royal Palace. It was genuine and heartfelt; performed and played out with fervor by all 75 dancers.

If it wasn’t, the theatre hall wouldn’t have been overflowing with attendees to a degree that made having such a crowd in one single space rather dangerous if a fire, God forbid, broke out.

An elderly lady and three others, younger in age, Lebanese judging by their accents, sat next to me on chairs that were placed at the last moment. Like everyone else present they were transfixed by the balanced blend of classical music, dance and acting.

Every few minutes and throughout the performance my daughter, who usually pulls a Footloose on us when we go through clothing departments in malls that play loud dance music, started swinging her arms and standing on one leg.

A sense of pride with some embarrassment swept over me as I watched her face light up to the tempo of the music to which the performers of Coppella danced.

If I was writing this piece for The Star Weekly, where I worked as a journalist for eight years, I wouldn’t have included some of the above paragraphs but since this is a personal blog I am sure you will forgive my transgression.

There are many elements that turned Coppella into a beautiful and enjoyable ballet, and as I have mentioned earlier the genuine delivery of dance and theatrics are among those elements.

Before we go into that let me list the creative team behind it:

Artistic Direction & Choregraphy …. Rania Kamhawi

Head Dance Instructors …. Rania Kamhawi & Svetlana Tahboub

Dance Instructors … Ruba Abu Sabha, Tamara Haddad and Natalie Salsa

Costume Design … Hind Dajani

Set Design … Hamada Shweini

Graphic Design … Ala Al Qaisi

Financial Administration … Mohamad Badran and Bana Wreikat

PR & Marketing … Randa Fakhoury and Nour Dirieh

Technical Staff … Jamal Masri, Mahmud Hamad, Mohannad Al-Tal, Mohammad Attiyeh, Fawaz Al Rawashdeh, Faisal Huneiti and Omar Rawashdeh

Volunteer … Zeinab Al Shrouf, Saba Obeidat, Suzan Al Banawi and Mohammed Zemirli.

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Anyone reading the program will come upon a special thanks to Ms. Lina Attel, Mr. Mohammad Abu Sumaqa, Firas Al Masri and the Royal Cutlural Center.

I would have loved to include the names of all 75 performers with the above credits but to be honest I could not for lack of time – sure if I wanted I would have asked for a soft copy of the program but I didn’t. Continue reading please!

The talented 75 performers had roles that ranged between feasting friends, giddy school children, exuberant butterfly catchers, anxious toy makers, lovely dolls, and energetic sickle dancers swaying and dancing during a wheat harvest dance.

The National Center for Culture and Art – King Hussein Foundation Coppélia is a ballet in three acts: Act I, A Ballet in Three Act; Act II, The Deception and Act III, The Wedding. It tells the story of a screwy doll maker, Coppelius, who lives in a village full of nosy life-loving people, who are constantly breaking into his toy shop out of curiosity and interest in his humanoid inventions.

Also living in the village are Swanilda and Franz, who are gradually falling in love with each other to the backdrop of a festive village.

The three main characters are performed by Natalie Salsa (Swanilda), Bijan Qutub (Franz) and Apo Yaghmourian (Coppelius).

The beautifully tailored costumes gave the performance a European production value. The set design was simple and practical – allowing quick shifts in between scenes without disrupting the flow of the story.

One of the most memorable scenes was the dolls ballet scene at Coppelius’ toy shop where the lead female character Swanilda and her friends decide to toy with the old recluse.

After breaking into the toy shop Swanilda and her friends find themselves facing colorful dolls by the dozen. The moment the eccentric toy maker walks into the room they all hide behind the dolls. A few seconds later the lifeless dolls, each representing a culture, come to life to the sound of gentle music and well-choreographed ballet movement.

The entire production seemed familiar and reminded me of a ballet performance that I saw on television 25 years ago. The distant memory of an old toy maker getting angry with young men and women, who snuck into his workshop came to my mind as the performance neared its finale.

Premiering on the 25th of May in 1870 Coppélia was choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon to a musical arrangement by of Léo Delibes. I still haven’t found the tele-ballet that I saw a couple of years ago but I will, and when I do I will share it.

What I loved most about the Coppélia choreographed by Miss Kamhawi was how all the performers, young and old, were really into their roles. The friendly smiles and the inviting hand gestures intermingled in the background adding to the movements of the graceful dancers floating in the foreground.

It was a magical night for this writer, his wife and his daughter, and I cannot wait to attend any upcoming performance by the National Center for Culture and Art – King Hussein Foundation for I know I will not be disappointed.

“Thank you for enduring with us especially with such a full stage. We truly apologize for that! Based on tonight’s attendance we are to perform the ballet for another night,” Miss Kamhawi, who was surrounded by her dancers at the end of the performance, announced to a cheering audience.

“I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is of utmost importance to us that you attend our performances. Thank you for supporting us,” Miss Kamhawi concluded.

On a final note the next time you hear of such a performance that is choreographed by the ever-passionate and gentle Rania Kamhawi make sure you buy a ticket.

About the writer/blogger:

Mike V. Derderian is a writer, a disc-jockey at Radio Jordan 96.3 FM and a journalist with 13 years of experience. At the moment he is working as an illustrator and a street artist. For writing and illustration assignments e-mail mikevderderian@yahoo.com

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Hala Wain 3ami by Sardine

Celebrating Halloween in Jordan is no longer legal or so they say!

So I guess the Jordanian government now can move on to solving bigger issues!!!

Ah, well! We always need a little more backwardness with all the progress we are making.

Please note that this is coming from a man who hasn’t worn a costume for Halloween since 1990.

Another please note: This design dates back to 2 – 3 years I just re-modified it after hearing the news about the ban yesterday.

Hala Wain 3ami and welcome to Jordan :-})

Sardine

 

 

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Vladimir Palibrk, one of the founders of Risha Project, and asked to create a short comic.

Thank you Vladimir and Risha Project for this wonderful opportunity and for believing in my lines and words :-})

I wrote and drew 24 pages.

This is the link to the full and high resolution comic: http://rishaproject.org/pub22.html

It was a fun project that gave me the chance to re-explore comics as a form and process.

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In 2008 I wrote and drew a six paneled comic called The Dark Side of the Spoon for a magazine called U Men.

I cannot wait to get back to doing this full time and this was a great practice.

Hope you enjoy reading it :-})

Sardine, 2014

For the past few years illustration has offered me another way to write – visually!

I have to confess both ways have their allure and offer one’s mind a challenging merriment once a piece is finished. The process is never 100 percent fun.

Words interconnect to form a sentence, a paragraph and a story the same way a drawn line becomes part of another line, before they formulate a manifestation of an image floating in one’s head.

The following are two posters, Graffiti Power Vol. I & Vol. II. They are a reflection of my affection for graffiti art. I am not a graffiti artist but I have been doing some wall illustrations using spray paint with my friend and mentor Wize One Wesam Shadid.

The themes in both posters are rather simple and the message clear: Graffiti, which is now being hailed as an art form – it always was but not in the eyes of those who own the wall – gives power to those who use it.

It grants those who are holding a spray can wings and allows them to push through thorns.

I hope you like them :-})

Graffiti Power Vol. I by Sardine

The above is Vol. I. and  here is Vol. II.

Graffiti Power Vol. II by Sardine

Good day all …

Thank you for following my blog :-})

 

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So I finally got around to launching my Society6 store a few days ago. Hurray!

Recently I launched my 12th t-shirt with Mlabbas, the Tah Smiley tee, that you can see on the lower right of the above snapshot from Society6, so I realized it was time to go online; and hopefully beyond Amman, Jordan.

No, I am not swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck ;-})

With each new line I draw I learn more about myself as an illustrator. The illustrations that I’ve uploaded are the pieces that I think are good in terms of themes and execution.

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Society6 allows anyone to purchase my posters/prints/tshirts with the push of a botton – okay, now I am bordering on shameless self-promotion, which is in a way the objective of this blog.

I will soon get back to fighting crime; I promise ;-})

Until then … to visit my Society6 store just click on this blue … I mean red … magical link: http://www.society6.com/SardineArt

Good day all …

Sardine a.k.a Mike V. Derderian a.k.a A Brick in The Head 

2014

 

 

Post Battle Graffbot by Mike V. Derderian - SardinePost Battle Graffbot by Sardine

Hey all!

Hope you are well: Sane, safe and sound in this crazy world.

A while ago I reworked an old sketch into a poster that was deemed a little too foreign for Amman’s local art scene. Here it is.

It is inspired by my foray into graffiti thanks to my friend and mentor Wize One Wesam Shadid, as a couple of months ago I was sent to the UK part of a seven day art exchange program with Wesam.

You can read chapter one of our adventure on this blog that I’ve created for the British Council, Amman, who have sent us there.

http://sprayrocketape.wordpress.com/

Since I have returned I’ve been drawing more, and doing some street art with Wesam around Amman.

Now back to the above poster! Bottom line: You don’t always get the job but that does not mean I am going to stop trying!  I really enjoyed producing this poster :-})

I love how it only sets the mood without any direct statements.

One’s thoughts are focused into what happened to her and what she is planning to do next.

Lately I’ve been illustrating a lot.

My career as a journalist is on a self-imposed hiatus along with some other factors, however, the writer within continues to write, whether on my Thoughts from Within a Sardine Can Facebook page or here on my blog.

The above poster will soon be available for purchase on my Society 6 store:

http://society6.com/mikevderderian

As for my other illustrations you can find those on my www.facebook.com/SardineArt page

Good day all and thank you for taking the time to read my words and see my work :-})

Mike V. Derderian,

4, 9, 2014

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A wasteful practice that should be banned in a country where water is scarce.

Dear St. Regis management and other establishments who waste water this way please stop!

An entire family can live for a couple of days with the amount of water that was wasted to clean these plastic banners that are placed over a 100 + construction fence.

Spread the word about this!

The above is something I posted on my Instagram account.

I am a writer, an illustrator and a journalist, who happens to have an Instagram account and that I use every now and then for journalistic purposes: @mikevderderian

Please note: A blog is all about sharing so if you wish to share the photograph make sure you always credit me.