A treat for ballet lovers in KZN

2009-08-08 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG-born Robin van Wyk, a principal dancer and artistic director of the Cape Town City Ballet (CTCB), has returned to KwaZulu-Natal to perform in Giselle at the Playhouse Opera Theatre from August 14 to 16.

Van Wyk, who grew up in Woodlands and attended Raisethorpe Primary and Haythorn Senior Secondary schools, always knew he wanted to be a ballet dancer.

“My grandparents used to take me to see the PACT ballet shows at the Winston Churchill Theatre … and I loved the whole beauty of it,” he said. “Ballet is a wonderful, physical art form and now that I’m older and am working with children, it’s amazing to watch.”

Van Wyk first learned to dance with the help of Brenda McLachlan, who has a studio in Alan Paton Avenue (Durban Road). “She looked after me for many years and was my first teacher. I remained with her until I was 17 and went to the University of Cape Town Ballet School,” he said.

After completing his studies, Van Wyk spent a year with the NAPAC Dance Company in 1990 before heading back to the Mother City in 1991 to join PACT Ballet. Six years later he joined CTCB.

A versatile dancer, he has performed a variety of roles from both the classical and the contemporary repertoire, including Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, the Immortal One in Christopher Kindo’s African Firebird, Franz in Jean-Paul Comelin’s Coppélia, the Prince in The Nutcracker and James in La Sylphide.

For the Durban production of Giselle, Van Wyk takes on two roles — Hilarion, Giselle’s jealous suitor, and Albrecht, the nobleman who betrays her.

The Albrecht role is a last- minute change after one of the two dancers who was set to perform the role got injured. But Van Wyk seems unfazed by the fact he has new steps to learn so close to opening night, saying simply: “These things happen.”

He’ll dance the role of Hilarion on opening night and on the Friday and Saturday nights and will perform as Albrecht for the Saturday and Sunday matinées.

Joining him on stage are ballerinas Megan Swart and Laura Bosenberg, who alternate in the title role, Angela Hansford and Janine Laidlow who dance the role of Myrtha, Queen of the Willis, Johnny Bovang as the Duke and Jane Fidler as Albrecht’s betrothed.

Music will be provided by the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Naum Rousine, a rare treat even for ballet companies these days.

Away from the stage, Van Wyk enjoys choreographing new ballets and working with children. His most recent creation was Alice in Wonderland for the Friendly City Youth Ballet in Port Elizabeth in July.


Giselle can be seen at the Playhouse Opera Theatre from August 14-16. Performances are at 7.30 pm on Friday, August 14, 2 pm and 7.30 pm on Saturday, August 15, and at 3 pm on Sunday, August 16. Tickets range from R70 to R120. Book through Computicket on 083 915 8000 or call the Playhouse Box Office on 031 369 9540 or 031 369 9596 (office hours).


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