Gearhouse Group has announced the renaming of their Training facility to the Kentse Mpahlwa Gearhouse Training Academy with the aim of furthering the legacy left by late Gearhouse director and colleague, Kentse Mpahlwa.
Le Corsaire, the Ballet
With a line-up of South African and visiting ballet stars, a cast of one hundred, and magnificent sets and costumes, SA ballet begins a new chapter next month when the country’s merging companies, Mzansi Productions and The South African Ballet Theatre (SABT), presentLe Corsaireat the Joburg Theatre from 19 to 29 July.
Mzansi Productions and SABT receive generous funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund which contributes to making this production possible. Le Corsaire will be the first production under the banner of the new company, the name of which is still to be announced, and marks the culmination of the merger process between Mzansi Productions and SABT that began in 2011.
To celebrate this historic event, the company presents the first ever SA performances ofLe Corsaire, one of the great 19thcentury ballet classics. A treasure trove of dazzling classical showpieces, this exotic tale of love and adventure brims with pirates, pashas, harems and shipwrecks and provides a rich setting for the leading dancers, a cascade of soloist roles and massed corps de ballet sequences.
In true 19thcentury tradition, the story is one of love besieged but ultimately triumphant, set to a sparkling, melody-rich score and glowing with classical ballet at its most irresistible. Commenting on the first SA production of Le Corsaire, CEO-designate of the new ballet company, Dirk Badenhorst, says the staging is in line with his on-going endeavours to add to the ballet repertoire in South Africa. He added that it is essential to broaden opportunities for SA dancers to perform new roles and meet new challenges, and to give audiences fresh ballet-going experiences.
“With its magnificent spectacle, large cast, and classical showpieces,” said Mr. Badenhorst, “Le Corsairefits with the vision I believe we need to embrace in the new company. I am proud that our own South African ballet stars will be joined by visiting stars from abroad, including the dash and flash of Cuban ballet flair, in this way re-affirming the importance of ballet’s global ties.”
Iain MacDonald, Artistic Director-designate of the new company, believes thatLe Corsaireis the perfect production to showcase the new company, adding that one of the many aims of the company will be to expose audiences to the tremendous talent in South Africa. By presenting the South African premiere of Le Corsaire,” said Mr. MacDonald, “I hope to offer our home-grown stars the opportunity to extend and challenge themselves with new repertoire. Le Corsaire is the ideal vehicle for this and I am thrilled with the commitment and passion with which the dancers have taken to the demanding classical choreography that abounds in Le Corsaire.”
The first SA production ofLe Corsaireis being staged by distinguished SA ballerina, ballet mistress and coach, Angela Malan. “South African dancers and audiences,” she said, “have still to experience the glories of many ballet classics that are virtually unknown here. Le Corsaireis one of them and staging the ballet is a career highlight for me, the opportunity to bring to life a ballet masterpiece never seen in South Africa. I am hoping to give South Africa aLe Corsairethat will be unique while remaining respectful of the ballet’s rich traditions. I know audiences will be dazzled by the classical jewels inLe Corsaire.”