Press release: Ingoma | Les Sylphides and Cape Town City Ballet – back on stage

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Lêusson Muniz and Leané Theunissen in Les Sylphides.  Photo credit: Oscar O'Ryan

Cape Town City Ballet proudly presents the South African premiere of Mthuthuzeli November's Olivier Award-winning Ingoma as part of its Autumn Season at Artscape. 

The performances in the Artscape Opera House will be strictly limited to 250 seats due to social distancing. 

Commissioned by Cassa Pancho for Ballet Black in London, and choreographed by South African born November,  Ingoma collected prestigious awards including the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production as well as Best Dance Production at the Black British Theatre Awards following its premiere in 2019 at the Barbican Theatre and run at the Lindbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House.

In juxtaposition to this powerful, visceral work, audiences will be able to enjoy the pastoral fantasy of Les Sylphides. Sylphs of imaginary spirits dance in the moonlight with the "poet" to the exquisite composition of Frederic Chopin. 

This quintessential romantic reverie with choreography by Mikhail Fokine will be staged by British ballet luminary Lynn Wallis, who was Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Dance for twenty two years and who has worked with companies such as the National Ballet of Canada and English National Ballet. In 2015 Wallis was awarded an OBE for services to dance.

Audiences can enjoy a second programme of breath-taking classical and neo-classical ballet with the return of Cape Town City Ballet – back on stage following sold out houses in Cape Town and Durban. 

The double bill features George Balanchine's Serenade, performed to music by Tchaikovsky and staged by Rebecca Metzger for The George Balanchine Foundation. 

It is accompanied by Moon behind the clouds, a suite of works made during the time of Covid-19, by leading South African choreographers Veronica Paeper, Kirsten Isenberg, Yaseen Manuel, Lindy Raizenberg and Marlin Zoutman. The lyrical dancing and moving imagery is laced together through the timeless text of Max Ehrmann's Desiderata, narrated by acclaimed performer Marcel Meyer.  Nathalie Vijver is the Dramaturg for the work.

Lighting Design for the Autumn Season is by Wilhelm Disbergen. 

Established as the Nico Malan Theatre in 1971, the Artscape building marks its 50th anniversary in existence.. 

"We will be marking two momentous occasions with the opening of our Autumn Season at Artscape," says Debbie Turner, CEO of Cape Town City Ballet. 

"On 19 May 1971, the venue opened with a performance by CAPAB, the ballet company of the time. It is fitting that we use this opportunity to recognise not only how far we have come and the changes that have taken place, but also the next fifty years of ballet on the Artscape stage, and how dance can lead the way in championing change and extending boundaries," says Turner.  

"We are honoured to be presenting Ingoma, which has been extended to accommodate the Company of Cape Town City Ballet. With the staging of this ground-breaking work, we proudly celebrate the work of Mthuthuzeli in his home country."

Ingoma is a compelling fusion of ballet, African dance and song, engaging in a universal theme about being human and being true to yourself. Inspired by the artwork of Gerard Sekoto, most particularly the Song of the Pick and his Blue Head, it explores the milestone Witwatersrand miners' strike of 1946,  imagining the struggles of black miners and their loved ones as thousands of miners bravely embarked on strike action for better wages. 

"a powerful piece....November naturally blends ballet, on pointe, with earthier African idiom. Four stars" - The Guardian

South African Peter Johnson composed the music for the production, marking his third collaboration with November after Cape Dance Company's Visceral and Sun. Asisipho Malunga completes the creative team as dramaturge and vocalist.

Ingoma/Les Sylphides will be presented on 27 and 28, May and 3, 4 and 5 June at 19h30 with matinees on 22 and 29 May at 15h00.

CAPE TOWN CITY BALLET - BACK ON STAGE will be presented on 29 May and 2 June at 19h30 with a matinee on 5 June at 15h00.

Tickets cost R300 each for the evening performances and R250 each for the matinee. 

Bookings can be made at Artscape Dial-a-seat 021 421 7695 or through Computicket. 

Please Note: The event complies with all COVID-19 regulations including social distancing and patrons must wear masks for entry. Cape Town City Ballet is grateful for the support of the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government, Food Lovers Market and Toby Fine Ballet Fund.  

*Invest in the work of Cape Town City Ballet! For information about how to donate to their THUNDAFUND campaign, email thundafund@capetowncityballet.org.zaor visit https://thundafund.com/project/6716626611211597

 

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