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THE NATIONAL Ballet of Cuba (NBC) will arrive in SA at the end of August. With a contingent of 60 dancers and support staff, the NBC will be one of the largest ballet companies to tour here and marks the company’s first visit to our shores.
It will stage The Magic of the Dance at Artscape from September 13 to 16. The production includes highlights from Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Giselle, Coppélia and Don Quixote, as well as works from the Cuban repertoire and a new ballet choreographed especially for the SA tour by the founder of the NBC, Alicia Alonso.
Now 92 and still the director and guiding light of the NBC, Alonso will visit SA with the company. Fêted on her 90th birthday two years ago at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York with celebratory galas in her honour, she was one of the great ballerinas of the post-war era.
SA Mzansi Ballet dancers Burnise Silvius, Kitty Phetla and Michael Revie will perform solos and pas de deux with the National Ballet of Cuba in Joburg on August 30 and in Bloemfontein on September 24. All three will also appear in the finale of the performances on those dates that will be choreographed by Alonso herself.
The idea of the tour was first discussed between Dirk Badenhorst, director of Mzansi Productions, and the NBC in Havana in 2008. Since then SA has welcomed several smaller groups of Cuban dancers as well as individual dancers and teachers from the National Ballet School of Cuba who have appeared and worked under the auspices of Mzansi Productions and competed in the Cape Town international Ballet Competition.
“The visit by the NBC moves SA-Cuban cultural ties to a new level,” says Badenhorst, “And like a fine wine, the tour will mark the culmination of a maturing process that has been developed over several years”. – Arts writer
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