Identical twins Lydia and Logan Acker, 18, are anything but in personality.
Lydia is the more outgoing of the two — laughing and bubbly — and possibly less disciplined, while Logan, the shy one, keeps Lydia in check. They both agree on these assessments, offering various anecdotal examples as proof. The most obvious is that they often hate each other’s favorite music.
But the one thing they do nearly identically, and have done since they were 4 years old, is ballet. And as supportive as they are of each other, they are also fiercely competitive and drive each other to work harder.
“There were definitely times when I wanted to quit ballet, and Logan was like ‘No, I want to keep doing it,’ so I was like, ‘Yeah, because Logan’s doing it, I’ll do it too,'” Lydia says. “I think being able to do it together really helped us stick with it.”
Now as high school seniors who have danced together or shared roles in every performance to date, they will close out this stage of their young careers on April 14 and 15, performing as Swanhilda, the lead role in the classical ballet “Coppélia,” with International Ballet. They won’t actually be dancing together, though, this time. To give them both the chance to play the lead in “Coppélia,” Logan will dance Saturday night, and Lydia will dance the Sunday matinee.
“It’s been interesting to share the same role and bring — although we’re doing the same acting, the same steps — like, to bring something different in our own individual personalities to the role,” Logan says.
And since they are equally as accomplished ballerinas, it will be difficult even if the audience attends both performances, to tell the difference. But there are nuances to their partnering and arm movements, for instance, to which their partner, Gabriel Paluszak, who plays the male lead, will adjust. Lydia tends to have a more assertive style and Logan is more controlled in her movements, the Ackers say.
The “Coppélia” performances have even more significance for the Ackers since they began their instruction at the company’s affiliate, International Ballet Academy, almost 14 years ago. As IB’s founder and the Ackers’ first teacher, Lena Forster, points out, they are the only two students in the studio’s history to have begun and completed their instruction there.
The twins say they are thrilled to dance in this particular production as their last with IB before heading off to college because it is a full 90-minute ballet, and not a series of excerpts, and its comedic storyline requires as much acting as dancing.
Set to the music of Léo Delibes, “Coppélia” follows an eccentric toymaker, Dr. Coppelius, who is determined to bring his most recent life-sized doll, Coppélia, to life. Meanwhile, a friendly village girl, Swanhilda, and her fiancé, Franz, become curious about the mysterious girl that they see in Dr. Coppelius’ shop, not realizing she’s only a doll. When Swanhilda and Franz try to sneak into Dr. Coppelius’ shop and are discovered, a chaotic chain reaction, comic impersonations, and a dramatic — but happy — conclusion follow.