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Dance International
Written by: VVR
07/08/2007

The Cape Town City Ballet has a long and illustrious history, starting with the establishment of Dulcie Howes' UCT Ballet Company in 1934.

This company consisted of students of the UCT Ballet School, dancing in the corps de ballet, with staff members and professional dancers performing the leading roles.

With the establishment of the four Performing Arts Councils in South Africa and their attendant companies such as the 60-strong CAPAB Ballet under the direction of David Poole, an era of plenty was born, when seemingly unlimited funding was available for lavish productions on the Nico Malan Opera House stages, and occasional large-scale tours to venues such as the Settlers' Monument Theatre in Grahamstown, the Civic Theatre in Johannesburg and the Port Elizabeth Opera House.

In 1994, notice was given that all funding from Central Government would cease and that all performing companies should become independent of their parent bodies, the Arts Councils, by 1997. The CAPAB Ballet Company consequently became a non-profit organisation and is now known as the Cape Town City Ballet, administered by a Board of Directors, under the chairmanship of Victoria Cawood. Prof Elizabeth Triegaardt is Executive Director of the Company as well as Director of the UCT School of Dance.

Veronica Paeper's Artistic Directorship spanned both companies until her retirement in 2005. At present the company employs only 34 dancers, with a lean artistic and administrative staff. Productions are still mounted at the Artscape (formally the Nico Malan) and at The Baxter Theatre and every opportunity is sought to take the company into smaller venues and communities to advance the art of ballet outside of greater Cape Town. The repertoire is also being revised to accommodate both the diminished size of the company and the aspirations of local choreographers who wish to develop their craft. Performing to orchestral accompaniment is not always affordable so many performances are accompanied by recorded music.

The Cape Town City Ballet has now to raise its own operational funding, no easy task in this age of shrinking sponsorship and escalating costs, but the Directors remain determined to ensure the continuation of this artistic treasure well into the new millennium.

www.capetowncityballet.org.za






































 

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