Enchanting Ballet Season Coming up in Cape Town and Joburg

Performances will include ‘Cinderella’, and ‘Dialogues’ featuring three short ballets ‘Table for Two’, ‘Identity’ and ‘Bluebeard’.

By Debbie Hathway

Balletomanes countrywide can look forward to some enchanting performances to start the year.

First up is the Cape Town City Ballet, staging Veronica Paeper’s ‘Cinderella’ at the Artscape Opera in Cape Town from 4 to 19 February 2023.

Royal Ballet principal Vadim Muntagirov and Hungarian National Ballet principal Tatiana Melnik will guest in the lead roles on Saturday 11 February, Tuesday 14 February and Friday 17 February. They will be accompanied by Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO), which will also play for various other performances.

Mervyn Williams and Marcel Meyer, known for their memorable character roles in various productions, take the parts of the ugly stepsisters so audiences can expect a highly entertaining production.

Sergei Prokoviev’s score, and libretto by the Brothers Grimm 1812, provide the music for the classic tale of sweet Cinderella, who lives at the mercy of her ungainly, highly unlikable stepsisters, Violet and Daffodil. Forced to scrub and clean the home they share, dressed in rags, Cinderella’s eligibility as a guest for the prince’s ball is automatically ruled out by the pair but her Fairy Godmother has other plans.

The feel-good fable is complemented by costume and decor by Peter Cazalet and lighting by Wilhelm Disbergen.

Joburg Ballet opens ‘Dialogues’, its first season of the year, with three short ballets at Joburg Theatre from Friday 17 March to Sunday 26 March. They are all new to the company’s mainstream repertoire.

Dancer Chloé Blair will present an extended version of her piece, ‘Table for Two’, initially staged for Joburg Ballet RAW in 2021. The RAW series was devised to showcase fresh choreography in a setting where the audience may interact with the process.

Roseline Keppler, a senior dancer with Gregory Maqoma’s African contemporary dance company Vuyani Dance Theatre, will premiere a new work, ‘Identity’.

And dancer Bruno Miranda will stage the Grand Pas from the 1896 ballet, ‘Bluebeard’ – a first for South Africa. According to the Marius Petipa Society, Petipa – acknowledged as the father of classical ballet – “took the term ‘grandiose’ to a whole new level [for Bluebeard], as shown in the ballet’s most extravagant scenes and numbers. The Grand Pas d’action of the first act was the balletic equivalent of multiple voice numbers in opera.”

The ballet adaptation, a continuation of the ballet-féerie (French for fairy play), was commissioned to mark Petipa’s golden jubilee of service to the Imperial Theatres in Russia. ‘Bluebeard’ tells the story of a rich nobleman with a huge blue beard, who murdered six wives as punishment for disobedience.

Bookings for Cinderella at Artscape Dial-A-Seat 021 421 7695 or Computicket.

Bookings for Dialogues via Joburg Theatre Box Office or 0861 670 670 or online at joburgtheatre.com

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