Delicious dance taster menu

2012-05-05 07:37

I wiped the tear away that had unknowingly slipped down my cheek as Kitty Phetla’s Dying Swan breathed her last and gracefully folded into herself.

Phetla’s heart-wrenching solo was one of a selection of scenes from ballets classic and new that make up Celebration 3.

The 11-part dance showcase opens with the light-hearted, acrobatic Pas De Deux from The Merry Widow, performed by Angela Malan, Mzansi Productions ballet mistress, and Nelson Nunez.

Those lucky enough to have seen the recent run of Giselle at the Joburg Theatre will remember Nunez as one of the soloists who provided the wow factor in the first act.

The tough part of the night is Mari-Louise Basson’s Uncle Stan’s Jane and John Doe. Commissioned for this year’s Dance Umbrella, this piece is emotionally draining as it explores the physical and psychological anguish of sexual abuse.

Basson says of the piece that it is “dedicated to the thousands of young victims who have endured the wrath of sexual abuse”. Beautifully and darkly danced by a crew in shiny black trenchcoats, it left the audience breathless.

While the transition from Basson’s work to the Pas De Deux from Diana and Actaeon took my mind a moment or two, soon Monier Jouve’s lifts and spins had me in their thrall.

Next up, Claudia Monja and Nunez stepped lightly through Zero, a modern piece of ballet choreographed by Miguel Altunaga to the toe-tapping sounds of Mama de Sam.

Other stuff on this equivalent of a delicious dance taster menu include a solo by Craig Arnolds, another by Luiz Bermúdez de Castro, and a finale featuring principal dancer Burnise Silvius and Randol Figueredo doing the Pas De Deux from Don Quixote.

Someone said jokingly that this was a programme designed for our short attention spans; I think it’s just a great way for the dancers to celebrate the end of a long season and a chance for them all to do something a little different to show off their considerable athletic talents.

» Celebration 3 is on at The Fringe Theatre at The Joburg Theatre complex until Saturday. Some partner swapping takes place on Saturday night.

Follow me on Twitter @GayleMahala. Follow City Press: @City_Press

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