Cape Town City Ballet’s production, Spring Rhapsody, is a collection of short ballets and variations from classics such as the Glazunov Variations to newer works like Stairway to Paradise, giving the audience an opportunity to view a variety of styles and see many different dancers performing in lead roles.
The show opens with The Blue Danube by Robin Van Wyk, a romantic and lyrical ballet that boasts beautiful patterning and dancing by the six ladies of the corps. Due to this emphasis, it unfortunately becomes very obvious when they are out of sync. Despite this, the principal couples Cleo Ames and Martin Milner with Caitlin Smith and Conrad Nusser give strong performances, making it a great opening act. It is followed by two pas de deux, the first being from Diane and Acteon. A very high energy and dramatic pas de deux, it was somewhat let down by music that was too soft and distorted to give full effect to some of the climactic moments. Nevertheless, Mariette Opperman and Craig Pedro rose to the occasion. Opperman had a hesitant start but soon gained momentum, finishing with rousing fouette turns en diagonale, an exciting prospect for her upcoming performance as Kitri in Don Quixote next week.
Hannah Ward and Daniel Szybkowski then performed the beautiful Spring Waters pas de deux – a lively, fluid and joyous duet that seems to end in a heartbeat, but not without first wowing the audience with some majestic lifts. The choreography by Asaf Messerer seamlessly interweaves the dancers in a whirlwind of movement that blows across the stage. In contrast to this swirling scene, the classical style of Glazunov Variations is contained and precise with technically clean and neat dancing by Meghan Henegan and Martin Milner and leads. The final work of the programme is Stairway to Paradise, another choreography from Van Wyk, this one being more jazzy and lighthearted. A favourite for any fans of Gershwin whose music drives the narrative. Musically the Sapphire couples have the best clarity of timing and Henegan and Szybkowski exude the cheeky, playful nuances of the music. But it is Leane Theunissen’s performance as Miss Ruby, also partnered by a ‘drunk’ Szybkowski, that steals the show. With its lightly slapstick humor and Theunissen’s facial expressions, they’re an audience favourite
Spring Rhapsody is a full programme that showcases the dancers and has something for everyone.
Cape Town City Ballet’s Spring Rhapsody took place at the Artscape Opera House on 13 & 14 October 2017.