This weekend a host of international ballet stars and our best dancers will perform at the Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg.
The line-up of dancers from 10 countries will perform a repertoire of magnificent classical ballet showpieces in honour of the great Alicia Alonso, 92, who arrived in South Africa on Saturday from Havana especially to attend the celebration in her name.
Cuban-born Alonso achieved international fame as one of the finest ballerinas of the 20th century. In 1948 she founded the company that was to become the National Ballet of Cuba (NBC). Now in her nineties, Madame Alonso continues to be the NBC’s director and guiding light.
Dancers from Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Germany, Russia, South Korea and the United States have been invited to perform in the International Ballet Gala.
Some of the acclaimed companies they represent include the Shanghai Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet, the Washington Ballet and Alonso’s own company, the National Ballet of Cuba. Representing South Africa are dancers from the SA Mzansi Ballet; Burnise Silvius, Michael Revie, Shannon Glover, Jonathan Rodrigues, Luis de Castro, Randol Figueredo, Javier Monier and Ramiro Samón.
Alonso set an example for the world on the way in which ballet can be part of nation building, embracing an entire national population and cutting across all racial, social and economic divisions
Presented by Dirk Badenhorst, the CEO of SA Mzansi Ballet, who is an admirer of Alonso ever since he began his close association with Cuban ballet in 2008. “Through her strength as well as her stature as a Cuban national treasure…Alicia Alonso set an example for the world on the way in which ballet can be part of nation building, embracing an entire national population and cutting across all racial, social and economic divisions.”
The two gala programmes in the 5-performance only season include showpieces from Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Giselle, Don Quixote and Romeo and Juliet.
Johannesburg’s salute to Alonso follows recent similar celebratory galas in her honour at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.
• The International Ballet Gala performances take place at the Teatro Joburg on June 28 at 8pm, on June 29 at 3pm and 8pm and on June 30 at 2pm and 6pm. Bookings at Computicket. Tickets range from R90 to R400.