From timeless romantic classical works to modern stylized neo-classical dance, Gala Occasion allows the audience to reminisce over the past eight decades of Cape Town City Ballet’s classical dance repertoire.
The show opens with a delightful scene of each dancer or group of dancers coming to life from various distinctive ballets. Alternating between solos, pas de deux and ensemble work, each scene is lush with elaborate and embellished costumes and rich décor especially in the scenes from Don Quixote and Spartacus. The music was familiar though – on opening night – too soft and distorted at times.
The highlight of the show is, without a doubt, the immaculate performance from Mami Fujii in her roles from La Bayadere and Raymonda. Fujii’s delicate and gentle style along with her beautiful strong extensions and lines adds to her fixating presence on stage.
The strongest and most riveting scene is unquestionably from Orpheus in the Underworld. This dynamic ballet bursts with comical elements and humorous characterizations. Former prima ballerina Tracy Li and her long time dance partner Daniel Rajna, who together formed one of the most renowned CTCB partnerships, are guest performers in a romantic pas de deux which also shows off their experienced acting skills. The result is quirky, elegantly playful and sweet.
Contrasting to the lighthearted ballets is an intimate and gentle pas de deux performed by Laura Bosenberg and Ivan Boonzaaier in Between Silence. The pair displays an authentic on-stage chemistry while moving through intricate yet incredible lifts. An exceptionally sensitive and heart-warming performance.
Gala Occasion is not only an entertaining performance from Cape Town City Ballet but one of their best variety shows yet. The diversity on display keeps the entire audience enthralled throughout.
Cape Town City Ballet’s Gala Occasion runs at the Artscape Theatre 15, 19 & 22 November 2014.