News Column

Ballet movements on the rise

June 3, 2014

THIS YEAR, the Cape Academy of Performing Arts (Capa) will be performing on the Arena stage at the National Arts Festival for the first time.

The Arena platform is a bridge between the free-for-all Fringe and |the curated Main Programme. Fringe productions which receive Ovation nominations become eligible to be drawn on to the Arena stage at the festival which runs from July 3 to 13.

Last year Capa's performance of Bittersweet was a hit and this year they reprise that particular performance at the Centenary Hall.

They are also rehearsing for a new production titled Between the Lines.

This offering features a new production from popular Cape |Town choreographer Michelle |Reid (premiering her new work Disconnect) as well as Belinda Nusser's Fade.Out.Five.

"Its stimulus was the stories of the dancers and a very common thread was absent fathers. It was motivated by the concept of living life between the lines and outside the lines. It's a broad philosophical approach, but seen through the eyes of the average 18- to 25-year-old student," said Capa director Debbie Turner about Fade.Out.Five.

While the Capa students rehearse though, several of the adults of the Cape Dance Company (the company the Capa students strive to be part of) are performing in Korea at the Busan International Dance Festival.

More than 200 dancers will take |to the Dance Festival stage this week, including companies from Korea, India, Estonia, Israel, Venezuela, China, Ireland, Russia, France, |Japan and the US.

Cape Dance Company Artist Director Debbie Turner says a Korean impresario was in the audience when they performed at |the recent Cape Town International Ballet Competition and asked if they would be interested in performing at the Korean festival.

"One tends to become quite jaded about people who approach you and ask whether you'd like to perform, and I said 'sure', never thinking for a minute that it would come to pass," said Turner just before they left for Korea last week.

The invitation did materialise, |and now CDC will be performing the works of Christopher Huggins in Asia for the first time.

"There are only three companies in the world that have these ballets and we'll be the first to perform them in Asia. I am very proud to be taking an international choreographer's work to the other side of the world," she said.

Mthuthuzeli November - who took gold in the contemporary senior section at that international ballet competition - will also be performing a solo work at the Dance Festival's request. Convivencia is a dance piece the then-20-year-old choreographed himself. "It is a feather in his cap," added Turner.

Originally the Festival was going to be performed in a huge open-air theatre on the open water, but since Korea is officially in mourning |after the recent ferry disaster, the decision was taken to move the festival to a theatre complex.

While Turner has not seen most |of the other dance companies in action, she can see from the programme that it will showcase a broad choice of dance styles, including tango dancers, neo-classical and contemporary dancers.

The Cape Dance Company has performed in New York and at the Edinburgh Festival, but those were trips they paid for themselves. This is the first time they have been invited to perform at an international dance festival.

The adult company comes as a |big unit, and even though they cut it down to 10 dancers for Korea, their repertoire is still an expensive one to move around.

"But, it's the ethos of the |company, we do big production ballets," said Turner.

Cape Argus

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Source: Cape Argus (South Africa)