The Long Beach Ballet "Coppelia" was a modest, agreeable "me-too" production: It courted respectability by trying to look just like everyone else's.
Sometimes David Wilcox's choreography grew overly Russian in style, Saturday night in the Terrace Theater. Sometimes, too, the storytelling purpose of the dances became lost, as if Wilcox had filled in incomplete recollections of the ballet with generalized new material. But it differed from versions you'd see in Houston, Lima (Peru) or Shrine Auditorium (10 days ago) mainly in its generous allotment of last-act variations .
Accompanied by canned Delibes, it had spirited, disciplined ensemble dancing in its favor Saturday. The leads, though, proved problematic. Fleet, tiny Jonette Swider danced efficiently as Swanilda, but remained expressively vacant or even glum everywhere except in the doll-impersonation scene.
If Swider seemed human only when playing a doll, Ed Coyoli made Dr. Coppelius a doddering puppet throughout; he executed mime business capably, but shouldn't character be more than just a collage of mannerisms?