Lehmann just enjoying the ride

Matt Lehmann and Meg Parry as Franz and Swanilda in Coppelia.  Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au   d442676
Matt Lehmann and Meg Parry as Franz and Swanilda in Coppelia. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d442676

Although he has danced in more seasons of The Nutcracker than he can count while spending five years in Canada with Alberta Ballet.

He book-ended those years at WA Ballet with the 2005 season of Dangerous Liaisons, returning to the company in 2010 for its program diversity.

�Every company has a certain repertoire or style of dance they do,� Lehmann said.

�And for me, because dance is such a short career, I always want to be pushing myself and doing different things.�

Lehmann certainly has a challenge in the Greg Horsman choreographed Coppelia, where he alternates roles of Franz and Dr Coppelius in the ballet about two sweethearts, Franz and Swanilda, who become curious about the young woman at Dr Coppelius�s house.

Horsman�s version has an Australian twist, set in 1878 South Australia in the small German settlement of Hahndorf, complete with an onstage game of Aussie Rules.

�I was excited about the season because I thought I�d be dancing Dr Coppelius, which is quite a dramatic role, but it wasn�t until we started learning it that I realised it�s an even deeper dramatic role than originally,� he said.

�Usually Dr Coppelius or Drosselmeyer from The Nutcracker are just crazy for being crazy, but this version has a good character development and there�s a reason why he builds his doll.

�And dancing Franz�s solo, it�s almost double the length it usually is, so it�s incredibly cardio-intensive.�

Lehmann said he got �game fit� spending a lot of time in the gym when not in the rehearsal room.

Hectic weeks mean weekends are spent sleeping, watching movies or riding his motorbikes.

�It�s an amazing experience being on a bike; I have a Harley and a sports bike, so that�s the best of both worlds,� he said.

�I know there is that risk to it and just recently a good friend of mine, (Jonathan Ollivier) who I danced with in Canada, died in a motorcycle accident in the UK. It took me a few days to get my head around it, so I don�t take anything for granted.�

�������������� Tanya MacNaughton