Category: Ballet

The Cape Dance Company has returned to the National Arts Festival once again with a production called Blue. It features four ballets from the creative vision of three choreographers.

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John Neumeier’s choreography for Le Sacre, based on the Rite of Spring, seemingly does the impossible with the Cape Town City Ballet dancers, who stomp, swirl and writhe against a minimalist backdrop to bring pathos and self-destruction to life.

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Choreographer/dancer Mamela Nyamza dances in the dress rehearsal of ‘The Last Attitude’, Grahamstown, 01 July 2015, at the 2015 National Arts Festival. Photo: CuePix/Pearla Berg.

It’s nothing new to critique classical ballet; in fact, there was a time when contemporary dance was a mere reaction to the treasured form. So when renowned choreographers and dancers Mamela Nyamza and Nelisiwe Xaba decided to reunite over an interrogation of ballet, it definitely came as a surprise.

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Flying high... Joseph Aitken and Yumi Aizawa dance the King of the Elves and the Fairy Queen respectively in Le Song d'une nuit d'été by Michel Kelemenis. Photo: CuePix/Mia van der Merwe

Feathers falling on the stage, pirouettes and mistaken lovers are all part of the international Geneva Ballet company’s mesmerizing performance of Le songe d’une nuit d’été on Friday night. Accompanied the Kwazulu Natal Pillharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lykele Temmingh,  Le songe d’une nuit d’été is a contemporary dance interpretation of the classic Shakespearean comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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Flying high... Joseph Aitken and Yumi Aizawa dance the King of the Elves and the Fairy Queen respectively in Le Song d'une nuit d'été by Michel Kelemenis. Photo: CuePix/Mia van der Merwe

Review: Le Songe d’une nuit d’été / A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Add together lovers, a donkey and a bit of magic: the result is Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, though not as it’s usually told. The Geneva Ballet Company brings its rendition of the Elizabethan tale to the Festival this year with a decidedly abstract take.

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Ballerina Courtney Wilkinson pulls on a green leotard with diamantés sparkling across the chest and black feathers across the hips. Over her soft cream stockings, she pulls on thigh-high, woollen maroon leg warmers.

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Choreographer, teacher and dancer, Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance Fana Tshabalala’s engagement with cleansing ceremonies led him to explore the possibilities in which rites of passage can create new beginnings and purify minds and bodies from the negativities that haunt us. His new work titled Indumba – a hut used as a place for cleansing rituals in most African countries – aims to create a space within which bodies will follow the inner voice that is constantly guiding and feeding them on what to do; despite often choosing not to listen and ending up with regrets. In this space there’s no right or wrong but every moment is appreciated for what it is and what it can be…

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A varied and controversial programme of dance this year featured a fusion of international names and influences.

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Quintessentially representative of the Romantic ballet genre, Giselle tells the tragic story of a young forest girl (Giselle) who learns that she has been wooed not by a fellow forest dweller but by an aristocrat (Albrecht), who in turn is engaged to a prince’s daughter.

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Picture the refined movements from an elegant rendition of the ballet Giselle restricted to the confines of a small box; the low-hung ceiling limiting the deliverance of the perfect Grande Jetè and paired lifts.

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