Cape Twon. 140223. Mthuthuzeli November, 20, demonstrates one of his ballet moves in his backyard in Plumstead. Reporter Siya. Picture COURTNEY AFRICA

Siyavuya Mzantsi

HE was interested in kwaito dancing, not ballet, yet Mthuthuzeli November bagged top honours at the 4th South African International Ballet Competition held at the Artscape Theatre on Saturday.

Originally from Ashton, November, 20, won a gold in the senior contemporary boys category.

Yesterday he said ballet had never been his priority.

“I never thought I could be a ballet dancer because as a person who grew up in the townships, I was only interested in kwaito dance and soccer. Dancing was always part of my family. My brother invited me to a ballet session where he used to work to show some of his students how to do kwaito,” November said.

“I did not expect to win the competition. It was not something I focused on. I took my performance as a normal training session. However, I was dedicated,” he said.

He said at first he was criticised by his peers for taking part in ballet.

“Since I started in 2007, I had been enjoying it and I saw an opportunity to grow as a dancer. I was criticised by some of the guys in my community because they said ballet was not something for boys to do. That never destroyed me because I knew what I wanted,” he said.

November gave up school to concentrate on ballet in 2011.

“I had a tough choice to make. It was either school or dancing.”

At the time he got a call from the woman who now teaches him asking to come to Cape Town for further ballet training. After that weekend in Cape Town he went back to school to tell his Grade 11 teachers he would be leaving.

“My mother supported me in that decision. She said as long it was something I wanted to do, she was happy,” November said.

November lives in Southfield and is a student at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts in Tokai. He took gold in the same category in 2012.

Asked about his next step, November said: “For me this is the start. Lots of people now know me and they expect me to keep on producing. That is what I will focus on.”

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