Three thumbs up for them

2015-05-05 06:00

Gardens local and ballerina, Elizabeth Nienaber will be on stage at Artscape Theatre this weekend in Cape Town City Ballet’s children’s production, Thumbelina.

Elizabeth will be sharing the role of Thumbelina with Meghan Henegan from Claremont and Cleo Ames from Ronde-bosch.

Based on the enchanting fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, Thumbelina tells the story of the little princess and her journey from being born in an acorn to marrying her handsome fairy prince, Cornelius.

“I love that the story of Thumbelina is about little people who make a big difference in their lives,” she says, adding that the feeling of being small in a big world is one that people of all ages can identify with.

“We can relate to longing and striving for the wings of freedom, and of love, and most importantly of self acceptance.”

Elizabeth adds that the message of “dynamite comes in small package” is carried across in choreographer, Robin Van Wyk’s interpretation of this classic fairytale.

“I’m sure the fact that I have always been shorter than average has very little to do with my strong connection to the story,” she jokes.

Five years later After dancing with Ballet Theatre Afrikan and South African Ballet Theatre, Elizabeth joined Cape Town City Ballet in 2010. “Almost five years later I am still here, and very happily so.”

She’s been hard at work preparing herself both physically and mentally for her role as Thumbelina. The role requires strength, flexibility and stamina, which means she’s putting in extra hours at the gym on top of her daily classes and rehearsals.

She’s also been reading the original story and watching different versions. “It is always interesting to get different artistic interpretations of a classic fairy tale.” Elizabeth says this has given her a better understanding of Thumbelina and helped her develop a believable character.

Emotional connectionWhen she isn’t exploring Thumbelina, she tries to listen to the music of the ballet as often as possible. “It is so important as a dancer to have an emotional connection to the music, and also to know the different nuances held within it.”

Elizabeth believes that the public in general should be supporting local ballet by watching performances by local companies.

“I think the notion or idea that ballet is only for a very specific type of person needs to be eradicated,” she says, adding: “Classical ballet is for all types of people, for all us human beings. Any one who wants to be moved on an emotional, artistic, theatrical level will enjoy classical ballet.”

She says parents can get little ones excited by exposing them to ballet as early as possible. She encourages parents to take children to see different productions, to take them to dance movement classes and to expose them to classical music. She also suggests reading them their favourite stories before showing them the classical production.

“This colourful production has an entire cast of different, delightful characters that will get their imaginations racing.” V

Elizabeth, Cleo and Meghan will be on stage in Thumbelina on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April. Tickets cost between R80 and R110 and are available from Computicket or Artscape Dial-a-Seat on 021 421 7695.WIN! WIN! WIN!


Five readers can each win double tickets to see the 15:00 show on Sunday 5 April. Visit to enter

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.