Celebrating Joburg Ballet’s 21st Anniversary

In June 2013, the City of Johannesburg announced a sustainable funding grant for the company in terms of which the name was changed to Joburg Ballet. The grant from the City marked a major development in South African arts funding as well as increasing Joburg Ballet’s ability to better fulfil its vision of making dance an art form embracing the widest possible cross-section of South African society, and to enhance standards, training, development, job creation, opportunities, continuity, sustainability, international goodwill, inclusivity and transformation.

The Game by Mario Gaglione -Nicole Ferreira-Dill + Gabriel Fernandes Lauge Sorensen

The company’s dancers are skilled in classical ballet and contemporary dance and perform a repertoire of ballet classics and contemporary works by visiting and South African choreographers. The company has performed across South Africa as well as internationally. Joburg Ballet actively encourages the development of new choreographic voices with original and innovative dance works being created for the company’s main seasons as well as for the Joburg Ballet RAW choreographic platform. Since its inception, Joburg Ballet has been committed to dance education and training and to the upskilling of dancers. In addition to the professional company, Joburg Ballet operates the Joburg Ballet School, Ballet Academy and Aspirant Programme.

Joburg Ballet marks its 21st Anniversary year in 2022.

Reminiscences of founding members:

Angela Malan – Gosh, I can’t believe that it is 21 years ago! I remember going to watch PACT Ballet’s 25th Anniversary gala. And now Joburg ballet is almost there. 21 years ago, out of desperation and with great naivety, we started what is today known as Joburg Ballet. A small company made up of very passionate members led by equally passionate and, in retrospect, somewhat crazy directors. We brought life to the dying embers of classical ballet in South Africa, making ballet more inclusive and accessible. We laughed, we cried a lot, we fought, we bonded, we learnt, and we grew but above all else, we got to dance and to share the beauty of ballet. Incredibly humbling times filled with so much joy, forever grateful.

Fiona Budd – For me, there was no option of South Africa being without a ballet company – ballet is a sacred art form, with a long ‘family tree’ each of us carry forward and that brings joy, magic, healing and escapism. So the decision to be part of starting The South African Ballet Theatre at the beginning of 2001, after the ad hoc season of The Nutcracker at the end of December 2000, where the private funder had run off with the money, was a no-brainer for me. I had to be part of making sure ballet survived and thrived. Being one of the founding members of The South African Ballet Theatre, a Senior Soloist, and ultimately the Managing Director, was one of the most incredibly fulfilling experiences of my life, coupled with being a huge learning curve. My favourite memories include our Valentine Enchantment seasons with the Black Tie Ensemble and Graham Scott, the filming of our Swan Lake by SABC in 2007 and sticking together as a company and family to take us through some very difficult times, including the financial crisis of 2008. I remember Iain and myself going to see Francois Pienaar (former SA Rugby Captain, who had become Head of Sponsorships of one of our major sponsors) to plead passionately for our funding to be renewed for one more year (they had withdrawn their funding to all the organisations they had previously supported, due to the financial crash), which he did!

Iain MacDonald – ‘Ignorance is bliss’ – a perfect expression that summarises my views on the original founding of The South African Ballet Theatre, now known as Joburg Ballet. It was pure passion, commitment and dedication that drove all of us to establish a ballet company and what remains for many of us at the Joburg Ballet the driving force today. The guidance of our original mentors on the board provided us with the foundation wherein each founder member was respected, acknowledged and fully committed to ensuring the success of The South African Ballet Theatre. The dancers were a huge impact on the success of the company and continuously performed against all odds. I am extremely blessed, honoured and grateful to have been mentored by Annzie Hancock, Don MacRobert and Mike Dove. Working so intimately with my fellow founder members Karen Beukes, Fiona Budd, Angela Malan, Dirk Badenhorst and Kimbrian Bergh has been one of my life’s greatest moments and I will cherish that bond and memories which held us all together forever. As the last remaining founder member, it is my privilege to remain with Joburg Ballet and see the incredible vision which we established continue 21 years later. Thank you to all our audiences, sponsors, mentors and members of Joburg Ballet for incredible memories and we look forward to creating the next 21 years together.

Karen Beukes – 21 years ago we started Joburg ballet – we were young and passionate dancers who loved what we did. We had no idea how to run a ballet company, but with guidance, support and love from people around us we made it happen. It was a journey that gave us great pleasure and joy and much pain and sadness too. I am so proud that we were able to give young dancers a place to dance and to experience what we had before the State Theatre closed. To be able to dance professionally is a gift that is rare and only those who have experienced it will understand it. As hard as it was, I would do it all over again. Thank you to Annzie Hancock, Mike Dove, Vanessa Nicolau and Don MacRobert who had the courage to believe in us. Thank you to the South African audiences that continued to love the ballet as much as we did.

Kimbrian Bergh – When the theatre closed and I found myself in South America I thought my world had ended, however, I got word that there was something happening back in South Africa. I was invited to come and perform and from there those performances laid the foundations for a new company. It was a tough few years – there was definitely a lot of fighting and laughing but ultimately, 21 years on it all paid off. I congratulate the management and dancers of the ballet company and wish them all the best for the future.


EVOLVE Booking information


In a change from booking arrangements in 2021 where patrons booked unreserved seats and were seated on a first-come-first-served basis, patrons will now book reserved seats in a graded pricing structure. In terms of Covid-19 regulations, the audience size currently allows for 494 socially distanced people in the 960-seat Joburg Theatre. All Covid-19 regulations will be observed at performances.

Dates and Times:
Friday 25 March at 18:30
Saturday 26 March at 15:00
Saturday 26 March at 18:30
Sunday 27 March at 15:00
Wednesday 30 March at 11:00 (All tickets for this performance are R100)
Friday 1 April at 18:30
Saturday 2 April at 15:00
Sunday 3 April at 15:00
Standard Ticket Prices: R475, R410, R375, R275, R200 (applicable to all performances except Wednesday 30 March for which all tickets are R100)
Discounts: Friends of the Ballet 35%; Pensioners 15%; Groups of 10+ 10%; Children 4-7 50% (not recommended for children under 4 years)
Where: Joburg Theatre, Braamfontein (GPS -26.191316, 28.038519)

Book now: At Joburg Theatre Box Office or tel 0861 670 670 or online at www.joburgtheatre.com Patrons can also book and pay via the Nedbank app and at selected Pick n Pay stores (full list at www.webtickets.co.za/pnpoutlets.aspx)

Image credits: Lauge Sorensen.

Visit www.joburgballet.com.

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