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Magic in the moonlight at Maynardville

Cape Town City Ballet … Chopin … moonlight … Maynard’s wine gums (seems like the right thing to eat at Maynardville) … the double bill, ‘Summer Snow’, at Maynardville has a lot going for it.

Cape Town City Ballet’s Les Sylphides

Maynardville’s wonderful outdoor stage is under the trees, with the wind always playing a starring role. Tonight, it brought the temperature down a little from the day’s 25-27 deg C and sent us Capetonian snowflakes scurrying for our knee rugs. It made me smile that everyone was all bundled up in their winter coats and beanies to ward off the slight cool breeze on this, the first day of autumn.

CTCB’s Les Patineurs PHOTO Joan Ward

Maybe everyone felt justified since the double bill is titled Summer Snow and Part I was Frederick Ashton’s charming twilight ice skating scene, Les Patineurs. Written in the 1930s, this clever ballet about the elegance of ice-skating was first danced by none other than Margot Fonteyn. 

Depictions of thrills and spills on the ice add a layer of challenge for the dancers and amusement for the audience. Not so much a story as a showcase for some challenging and wonderful dancing, most notably tonight by Francisco Gomez as Blue Boy.

Part II, Mikhail Fokine’s Les Sylphides, is the quintessential “romantic reverie”, with sylphs, or spirits, dancing in the moonlight with a poet to the music of Frederic Chopin. Les Sylphides is frequently cited as the first “abstract” ballet, one that is simply about mood and dance. There could hardly be a better place or evening for such indulgence of magic.

Les Sylphides is frequently cited as the first ballet that is simply about mood and dance PHOTO: Danie Coetzee

“Be transported to a place of magic and wonder under the stars at the wonderful Maynardville amphitheatre,” says Debbie Turner, CEO of Cape Town City Ballet.

“Summer Snow is a ballet lover’s quintessential treat of two stellar works that whisk you into the world of pirouettes, technical prowess and exuberant, energizing dance!”

Jaco van Rensburg, co-owner of Maynardville Open-Air Theatre Festival’s new producers VR Theatrical says, “Our festival is an expression of the magic that is Cape Town and the unique setting of Maynardville, and the ballet really takes that magic to a new level. It’s a beautiful way to end the season.”

Summer Snow is on from 1 to 5 March at 20.15 nightly. Tickets from R190 to R300. Bookings at Quicket

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