In most performances of "Coppelia," Swanilda and Franz are silly, endearing lovers. No matter how much they fight, everyone in the village, and the audience, too, accepts that they belong together.
Not so Tuesday in Shrine Auditorium, when both the rapport and the squabbling between Cynthia Gregory and Robert La Fosse suggested the relationship of siblings: big sister, little brother.
Gregory had appeared last week in the familiar American Ballet Theatre production; La Fosse was dancing his first Franz in Los Angeles. The stage business between them went smoothly enough and La Fosse partnered Gregory most considerately in their demanding dance duets.
It didn't matter. The chemistry, electricity, heat--call it what you will--wasn't there and, without it, "Coppelia" became merely a pretext for showing off the technique of two well-rehearsed but mismatched professionals.
Except for a problematic csardas, La Fosse danced very cleanly and accurately--but his acting ricocheted between supercilious smirks and effusive mugging.
Lisa Lockwood danced Aurora with unusual warmth and fluidity, and Robert Hill spun elegantly through the Mazurka. Alan Barker conducted.