Review: Cape Town City Ballet’s Open Day

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Tutus, little ballet shoes and an all round show of pink flooded the passages and hallways of the UCT School of Dance. The Cape Town City Ballet’s Open Day saw aspiring ballerinas and experienced ballet fans jostling with the City Ballet’s large pool of talented dancers hoping to showcase their talents, in an unmissable day for anyone with a love for dance.

Not only teaching the art of ballet, Cape Town City Ballet also hones Spanish, Irish and contemporary dancers. Part of the day included Mavis Becker conducting a Spanish dance class, her rich passion becoming obvious as she closed her eyes while demonstrating steps while her class, draped in floor length black skirts with red fringes, hands clasping the distinct castanets, formed unique and intricate rhythms against the traditional melodies.

It was fascinating to note the sponge-like learning ability of the dance students – it took Becker only a few demonstrations before the entire class had caught on in synchronicity. They moved as a unity of structure and power in the studio, their delight in perfecting the steps transmuting itself to us, the audience.

The beautiful costumes hanging in the hallway were even more of a distraction than the tuck shop as we flocked for the Pas De Deux class in the company studio. But, excited as I was, I planted myself firmly and unmoving into the ever growing queue.  There was no way I was going to miss an hour with Elizabeth Triegaardt, the director of Cape Town City Ballet.

Partnering is the highlight of any ballet dancer’s career and it serves to showcase the peak levels in technique. As an audience, we may simply not grasp the difficulty of each move. But the dancers and Triegaardt explained and demonstrated just how much strength and balance is needed, let alone trust between partners.  It was astounding and humbling to see.

Having Laura Bosenberg, Thomas Thorne and Tracy Li right in front of me was an obvious ‘fan girl’ moment. Their technique is flawless, and we were lucky enough, at the end of the class, to be shown three short previews from Cape Town City Ballet’s upcoming production, Camille. After taking a ballet hiatus, Tracy Li, for whom no introduction is needed, is dancing with the young Jesse Milligan. Their interpretation is effortlessly passionate, even to those who may know nothing about this style of dance.

If nothing else, Cape Town City Ballet’s Open Day is a day to inspire, and I was unable to shake the urge of turning back a few years from the clock and signing up to ballet class. The influence of beauty and grace lingers well after leaving Lovers Walk and I truly admire this company for giving young people the opportunity to expand their horizons and reach their full potential.

Kristan Wood

Cape Town City Ballet’s Open Day took place on 6 April 2013 at the UCT School of Dance in Lovers Walk, Rondebosch. 

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