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Set up for a season of love, hope and happiness

Clockwise, from top left: Tzu-Chao Chou, Brandon Lawrence, Fumi Kaneko and Vadim Muntagirov Photos: Lara Cappelli

Cape Town City Ballet’s spectacular production of Romeo and Juliet, which opened at Artscape on August 4, is a perfect set-up for an exciting winter line-up, featuring a host of international stars and a triple bill, Ikigai, inspired by the Japanese concept of Purpose, Happiness and Peace. 

International dancers and musicians aside, magnificent sets play a starring role in Veronica Paeper’s Romeo and Juliet, which is set to Sergei Prokofiev’s dramatic score.

The sensational decor and costume design is by Peter Cazalet with  lighting design by Wilhelm Disbergen. 

Opening night at Artscape felt so much more glamorous than before. It was as if we were at Covent Garden. Maybe the break we have had, the longing we have felt, makes it all feel bigger and better. Or, maybe, ballet and CTCB, in particular, just keeps getting better.

Siphesihle November. Photo: National Ballet of Canada.

NEWSFLASH Siphe November will be dancing the role of Romeo for one night (Thursday 25 August). This will be the first time that November, who is principal dancer at the National Ballet of Canada, has performed in South Africa since he left the country at the age of 11.

Chanté Daniels will be his Juliet. 

Born in the Western Cape, Siphe was accepted into Canada’s National Ballet School aged 11. He joined The National Ballet of Canada as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2017 and was promoted to principal dancer in 2021.

Vadim Muntagirov and Fumi Kaneko, principals of the Royal Ballet, and Brandon Lawrence and Tzu-Chao Chou, principals of Birmingham Royal Ballet, will also perform on select dates of the season. 

After Romeo and Juliet, Ikigai, comprising ballets by three generations of award-winning choreographers (Jiří Kylián’s Falling Angels, Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Patineurs and Kenneth Tindall’s Polarity), runs from from August 17 to 28.

“After the challenges we have all faced over the past few years, what better way to look towards the future inspired by the concept of Ikigai. It’s a path of finding meaning, joy, undergoing renewal and experiencing peace,” says Debbie Turner, CEO of Cape Town City Ballet.

We have compiled a winter programme that celebrates this philosophy and which we hope will help set audiences on their own journey of Ikigai.”

Falling Angels, which talks to the power of the female, is set to a hypnotic Steve Reich score, inspired by the percussive musical rituals of West Africa.

“Falling Angels is mesmerising: eight ballerinas who never leave the stage. This is rhythmic, fluid, contemporary dance of the type that takes you to another place and makes you moan with pleasure.”

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Falling Angels. Photo: Danie Coetzee.  

Something brand new to us will be Les Patineurs (The Skaters), choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton and set to music composed by Giacomo Meyerbeer. The ballet features a joyful party of ice skaters frollicking on a frozen pond.

The final of the three ballets is another one we have seen before. Last time, Kenneth Tindall’s Polarity inspired this “Polarity kept the temperature in the room on high as it pushes the dancers to the edge, physically and artistically.”

Tindall, resident choreographer and director of digital for Northern Ballet, created Polarity for Cape Town City Ballet in 2019. We are very much looking forward to seeing this new, extended version.

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What a feast awaits, expect it to be enlightening as it is warming.

The season runs August 4 to 28. Bookings can be made at Artscape Dial-A-Seat 021 421 7695 or through Computicket.

*Pensioners tickets for specific performances can be purchased from Artscape Box Office only, at R30 discount per ticket.

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