SA Ballet. Picture: Pat Bromilow-Downing
Balletomanes everywhere need to ready themselves for the biggest ballet event in Africa. What can be more exhilarating than an extended weekend in idyllic Cape Town, being treated around the clock to some of the best dance that the international ballet world can offer?

The sixth South African International Ballet Competition (SAIBC) celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The biennial event, to be held once again at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town, takes place from February 27 to March 4.

Launched as an initiative of Dirk Badenhorst, the first SAIBC was held in 2008. The competition has since escalated into the premier ballet event in South Africa.

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An auspicious panel of judges has been selected, namely Steffi Scherzer from the Zurich Dance Academy in Switzerland; Gregor Seyffert from the Berlin State Ballet School in Germany; Charla Genn, teacher, ballet mistress and choreographer from New York; Xin LiLi from the Shanghai Ballet in China; Hae Shik Kim from South Korea; Qu Zijiao from Liaoning Ballet in China and Eduard Greyling from Cape Town, South Africa.

SA Ballet. Picture: Pat Bromilow-Downing

Dirk Badenhorst is a prominent roleplayer in South African ballet and dance, having served as a founding member and the first CEO of the South African Ballet Theatre, subsequently as founder and director of the Johannesburg-based ballet and dance company, Mzansi Productions and, following the merger of the South African Ballet Theatre and Mzansi Production, as CEO of the new company, Joburg Ballet.

Since establishing the SAIBC, Badenhorst has continued to strengthen his ties with the ballet world at an international level, with exchange projects with various countries, most notably Cuba, China and South Korea, as the Africa representative for the Royal Academy of Dance, and as a judge at various international ballet competitions.

The SAIBC is the only international ballet competition on the African continent, on a par with the top ballet competitions in the world and attracting talented dancers from South Africa and many other nations to one of the most beautiful cities in the world to compete in the city’s opera house for gold, silver and bronze medals as well as substantial monetary prizes.

The contestant breakdown includes scholars aged 12 to 15, juniors aged 16 to 20 and seniors aged 21 to 28. At the discretion of the SAIBC, younger competitors may be given permission to participate in all three categories.

SA Ballet. Picture: Pat Bromilow-Downing

This year, the preliminary rounds take place from Tuesday, February 27, to Thursday, March 1 at 6pm. The semi-finals and finals, with the top dancers selected from each previous round, takes place on Friday, March 2, at 7pm and Saturday, March 3, at 7pm respectively, showcasing their strongest solos from the competition. Guest artists will also perform at this event. The SAIBC Gala, on Sunday, March 4, will showcase the winners as well as international and South African guest artists.

* For the elimination rounds, semi-finals, finals and gala, tickets can be booked through Computicket or at (021) 421 7695.