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North Delta dancer performs in Vancouver ballet company’s ‘Giselle’

Kyla Couper has been dancing since she was four, and is performing in her first production with Coastal City Ballet
North Delta ballerina, Kyla Couper, practices for May 19 performance of the ballet Giselle, put on by the Coastal City Ballet. Grace Kennedy photo

Vancouver’s Coastal City Ballet’s production of Giselle, is local dancer Kyla Couper’s chance to dive into a full-length ballet.

Couper, a 19-year-old North Delta resident, has been in ballet since she was four, first dancing at the Surrey Dance Centre, and then moving to the Joffrey Ballet School in New York. Giselle will be her first full-length ballet production other than the Nutcracker.

Couper moved to New York at 15, when her Surrey studio closed, and for two years took her Burnsview Secondary School courses online. After she graduated high school, she stayed for another year in New York before joining Coastal City Ballet.

It’s all in pursuit of a dream many little girls have, but few pursue: to be a ballerina.

Couper’s grandmother took her to see the Nutcracker when she was eight.

“I remember sitting in the audience and looking at the costumes, and how happy everyone looked on stage,” she said. “That’s when I knew that I wanted to be a ballet dancer.”

In this ballet, Couper will be performing in a different role for each act of the ballet: a peasant woman and a ghostly Scandinavian nymph known as a wili.

“Nothing is stressful in our lives and we’re just really happy people,” Couper said about the first act. “And then in the second act, we’re supposed to be wilis, which are like ghosts.

“We can’t portray any emotion, so it’s like really big contrast between the first and the second act.”

The ballet takes place in a medieval Rhineland village and follows the story of Giselle, a beautiful maiden who falls in love with a duke in disguise. When Giselle discovers the duke is engaged to another woman at the end of the first act, she falls into madness and dies.

In the second act, Giselle becomes one of the wilis. The queen of the wilis attempts to use Giselle’s dancing to lure the duke to his death. Their love prevails, and the duke does not die, but Giselle fades away.

The Coastal City Ballet’s performance of Giselle debuted at the Vancouver Playhouse on May 19. The next performance will be at the Surrey Arts Centre on June 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available online at