Joburg Ballet stages four full productions a year, as well as shorter ballets choreographed by their very own dancers. In 2019, they lit up Joburg stages with Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Unbound and Giselle. The company also travels across South Africa, visiting communities who may have never encountered ballet before. Presenting snippets of their productions, they offer these audiences an intimate encounter with much-loved characters, such as Giselle, Odette and Snow White.
But, Joburg Ballet is far more than just a professional ballet company. As a registered charity organisation, the company works in underprivileged communities around Johannesburg. Bringing the joy of dance to children and adults alike, Joburg Ballet strives to endear the art of ballet to new audiences. However, the love of dance alone cannot keep them afloat. Relying on generous donations, ticket sales and support from their fans, Joburg Ballet balances the scale of financing productions, staff salaries and purchasing equipment.
Show Your Support
There are a number of ways to show your support of Joburg Ballet. The most obvious would be to attend their shows. However, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent national lockdown, it may be awhile before any of us can head out to the ballet again. A few weeks before lockdown was implemented, Joburg Ballet kicked off their 2020 season with Don Quixote. Setting the Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre alight with passion and romance, their first show for the season saw major international ballet stars, Marianela Núñez and Vadim Muntagirov of The Royal Ballet take the lead.
This scintillating classic tells the story of beautiful, audacious Kitri and her love for the dashing but poor barber, Basilio. Her father, however, has more ambitious plans for his headstrong daughter, hoping to marry her off to a wealthy suitor. However, like all good stories, love conquers all in the end. Featuring celebrated showpieces, including the famous Don Quixote Pas de Deux, this ballet was to be highly-anticipated by Joburg Ballet supporters and classical dance fanatics across Johannesburg.
Sadly, after only four performances, the season was cancelled on 15 March 2020. The Mail and Guardian has since reported that Joburg Ballet has lost an estimated R1 million due to the cancellation. Chief executive at Joburg Ballet, Esther Nasser, said, "You can imagine the impact of cancelling the guest artists, Marianela Núñez and Vadim Muntagirov from the Royal Ballet, as well as the gala in Cape Town, which was to follow after the Don Quixote performances."
Generosity In Abundance
In an Instagram post on 24 March 2020, Joburg Ballet thanked all the people who had already bought tickets for the show for donating the funds to the company rather than asking for a refund. "The cancellation of six of the season’s 10 performances has obviously had an impact on Joburg Ballet and your generosity will help the ballet company through the tough times ahead," they wrote.
If you would like to support Joburg Ballet through these difficult times, read on to find out about their loyalty programmes and plans to continue to bring you the magic of dance through the remainder of the lockdown:
Friends Of The Ballet
Friends of the Ballet is an organisation for the loyal supporters of the Joburg Ballet. Their motto, 'Growing Ballet', represents their goal to build awareness around the importance of the ballet. A non-profit organization, FOTB raises funds via membership, the Friends Merchandise Table and an annual fundraising event. They also host informative talks about ballet, discussions with choreographers, dancers and musicians, allowing new fans to experience all the magic behind the scenes.
Anyone is welcome to become a Friend of the Ballet. There are a number of membership options, including an Under 21s card, couples membership, over 60s and VIP membership. Members receive discounts on tickets, special invitations to performances and events and free merchandise. Sign up here.
My School, My Village, My Planet
If you aren't able to join the Friends of the Ballet just yet, there is another way to give back to Joburg Ballet. Simply swipe your My School card at Woolworths, Engen or online with Loot.co.za. You can support up to three schools or charities with one card. Make Joburg Ballet one of your beneficiaries by registering on the My School website. With every swipe, you can help support Joburg Ballet's productions, dancers and development work across Johannesburg.
Dance In Your Living Room
Joburg Ballet hosts regular adult ballet classes at their studios in Braamfontein under normal circumstances. But due to lockdown regulations, both the company's professional and amateur dancers have been honing their skills at home in preparation for their grand return to the studio floor. Artistic director, Ian MacDonald has said, "It’s frustrating for the dancers not to be able to perform, as they have all worked incredibly hard on their individual interpretation of their roles within the production."
That's why Joburg Ballet now present Chair Barre Lockdown classes online! Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday you can join company manager Chase Bosch and Principal dancer Shannon Glover as they alternate for a 40-minute adult ballet beginners class. The class will take place on ZOOM, so download the app and join in for fun-filled class! The dancers will also be recording the classes, so if you happen to miss the class you can do it at a later stage. While these classes are free of charge, by joining you are keeping the love of dance alive and showing your support to the Joburg Ballet dancers during this turbulent time. So, get on those tights and ballet pumps and dance up a storm from home!
For More Information
For more information about their upcoming productions, visit their website.
Details: Corner of Loveday Street and Hoofd Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg | 011 877 6898 | j[email protected]