. . . Cape Town Ballet comes to Harare
Jevas Simbarashe Moyana
If ballet dancing were human, it would no doubt be a sexy goddess with beauty and elegance as its traits.
And so it was this past week when the Reps Theatre opened the grandeur of its auditorium for a Cape Town City Ballet visiting production entitled “Ballet Beautiful”. The performance has an added beauty in that ii comes at affordable prices.
To those who understand and can decipher the rich language of dance, this is an opportunity not to miss this week as it is still on with a chance to watch the closing performances today.
I was honoured with a front-row seat ticket to witness this amazing choreography behind the scenes in rehearsal, a production knitted together and choreographed by Cape Town based Robin van Wyk, who is also the director of CTCB.
The experience was breath-taking!
Ballet is very educational for all ages as it involves informs of stories like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake to name but a few. The soft classical music marked the beginning of the show. Everyone went dead silent consumed by the sight of performers who looked stunning in their costumes.
Ballet set the foundation of fashion in the 16 century since then it evolved dramatically. The ballerinas were discreet about their entrance and exit on stage. The portrait that was upstage illuminated the setting with a royal look. It was all systems go for a truly remarkable experience.
And with the beauty of the svelte ballet bodies, it was no surprise why the ballet-dancing bodies were the early coat-hanger living mannequins of 16th century beauty and fashion.
It takes a lot of practice for ballerinas to dance on point, regardless of the swollen feet and blisters they will have endured during acres of hours in practice, the Cape Town domiciled gods and goddesses of dance put on an amazing act .
The ability to make it look effortless and beautiful is an essence that has to be mastered and master it they absolutely did. Everyone was in unison and it brought up the wow effect and powerful image of the dance to living colour.
The port-de-bra; hand movement; were correctly held and the overall placement was on point. The choreography had beautiful patterns that weaved into each other. One has to applaud the time taken in the studio to create and perform these pieces for it takes a toll on the body.
I took notice of people of colour on stage some of whom were heavily built and yet performed remarkably well. This for me is breaking a myth that ballet is a ‘white man’s’ foray. Sadly, the majority of ballet performers remain ladies. The males are less brave to take it on because for a man to be a ballet dancer comes with a whole baggage of stereotypes. Many would rather let’s have anything with baggage in the stereotype cloakroom.
The pas-de-deux were mind blowing; they made us cringe with fear scared if one loses grip disaster will strike. They mastered the skills and technique that are required in partner work and taught all local aspiring dancers many lessons with every step they took in their twos. The spot turn with the ladies on point were spot on and the support the guys gave was rock solid. It takes a lot of adrenaline lifting your partner in the air with one hand. I could only imagine how many push ups the guys did to strengthen their core.
The music gave that dramatic feel of romance and longing in the choreography. The flames of passion engulfed the auditorium warming us with love. With the aid of their partners the ballerinas split effortlessly in mid-air breaking into big smiles. Who wouldn’t when you are at the zenith of both your career and literally up in the sky?
It left me with one take home; we as a country should rally behind the empowerment and financial support of the arts for the betterment of our industry, expose children to dance at an early stage and nurture their different abilities.
Ballet Beautiful runs from Wednesday August 1 to Sunday August 5, with performances at 7pm each night from Wednesday to Saturday and afternoon performances at 2.30pmon Saturday and Sunday. The four dancers who have come to Harare are Daniel Szykowski and Rosamund Ford, Gerald Pedro and Mariette Opperman. All four expressed delight in being able to work with local dancers and to assist local dancers develop the art of dance and both the skills and experiences of the local dance community. Accompanying the group is a sports scientist, Jana de Wet.