She is an orchid on a river, twisting and turning in the currents, creating an aura of grace. The world is serene, watching her as she dances. She floats, pushed by a force greater than any on earth.
An ethereal beauty surrounds her. A beauty incomparable to any other, like a dream. She bows to the moonlight. Her only companion - Faye Arnold.
In her effortlessness, the ballerina is the ultimate illusionist.
We are enthralled by her beauty. We are mesmerised by her grace. She embodies aesthetic perfection. She is more than a work of art. She is magic.
The ballerina is the instrument of her art. Her dance is sculpted and composed only to the extent that her instrument allows. An instrument that is meticulously chiselled through many years of tireless dedication.
Dancers are indeed both athletes and artists. They master the science of their bodies’ movement before they express the art thereof.
Mikhail Baryshnikov concludes that dancers are made, not born. Anna Pavlova elaborates: “God alone gives talent, but no one can arrive from being talented alone. Only work transforms talent into genius.”
But the professional ballet world is an unforgiving one in which only the very best will make it to the top. Those who are entirely dedicated to their art form. For those, ballet is a lifestyle of complete commitment devoted to their most valued passion. As dancers often remark: “You don’t choose dance. Dance chooses you.”
And for a few, their passion will transcend into magic.
Nicole Ferreira-Dill and Shana Dewey are two ballerinas who have each reached this prestigious level in their dance. In the forthcoming world premiere of Joburg Ballet’s new ballet, Snow White, both these ballerinas will be attaining a momentous milestone in their respective careers.
Ferreira-Dill is dancing the lead role on opening night, and Dewey is making her debut in a leading role. Ferreira-Dill is a senior soloist in the company while Dewey was promoted to soloist at the beginning of this year.
Inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairytale of a girl whose beauty drives an evil queen to vengeful acts, artistic director Iain MacDonald has choreographed a lyrical new full-length work for the entire Joburg Ballet company, with music by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich.
The sets are by South African designer Andrew Botha.
Ferreira-Dill, who also danced the lead role in McDonald’s Cinderella last year, comments on the challenge of creating a brand new role for which there are no references to draw from.
“It is both exhilarating and a big responsibility”, she said. “It has been exciting to grow into the character of Snow White, which is innocent and pure of heart, but gets confronted with emotional turmoil through the vengeance of the evil queen.”
Dewey admits to the pressures of performing a lead role for the first time, but makes it clear that the opportunity is too significant for nerves to interfere.The 10-performance run of Snow White opens on Friday with Ferreira-Dill and Leusson Muniz as Snow White and the Royal Huntsman, respectively.
Alternating casts feature Shannon Glover and Ruan Galdino, Monike Cristina and Revil Yon, and Shana Dewey and Bruno Miranda. The season marks debut performances in leading roles for Leusson, Cristina, Yon, Dewey and Miranda. Sharing the role of the evil Queen are Kitty Phetla, Monike Cristina, Claudia Monja, Sanmarie Kreuzhuber and Shannon Glover.
Snow White - The Ballet will be performed in the Joburg Theatre until October 20. Be sure not to miss what promises to be another Joburg Ballet dance sensation.