2 minute read
12 Aug 2013
5:10 am

Youth and creativity shine at ballet

It premiered at the UJ Arts Centre in Johannesburg to full houses and critical acclaim last year. Now the Johannesburg Youth Ballet (JYB) is presenting a return season of their celebrated ballet, Hansel & Gretel.

credit: John Hogg

Following on the massively successful heels of capacity houses on the Main Programme of the National Arts Festival, Hansel and Gretel will be performed at the UJ Arts Centre from August 14 to 18, before the JYB sets off for Durban

This is the JYB’s three-city, three-stage tour of the ballet, which is in part a celebration of 37 years of this youth art company’s existence – nearly four decades of providing opportunities for young up-and-coming ballet dancers.

Joburg audiences who missed the premiere last year will now have the opportunity of being thrilled by this innovative two-act ballet, which has been cleverly crafted by four leading South African creative talents. Hansel and Gretel is exquisitely choreographed by Mark Hawkins to a dramatic original score by Nik Sakellarides.

image courtesy: John Hogg

image courtesy: John Hogg

Then, to appeal to a new generation of theatregoers, design and digital animator Andrew Botha brings an exciting contemporary element to this classical piece as he cleverly weaves the art of design and digital animation into the sets – suited for both classical ballet lovers as well as a new, tech-savvy generation.

The integration of classical ballet with modern technology further enhances the relevance of the production, ultimately providing a story that audiences young and old can relate to. It’s a tale of an economically marginalised family pitted against famine and how they will do anything to survive. This is a theme that is close to home in today’s world, where children beg on street corners and huddle beneath cardboard boxes to sleep at night.

JYB’s Hansel and Gretel is a tale of hunger and hope, seeking out a survival on the harsh streets of our cities. The story has as much relevance today as it had when it was first published by the Brothers Grimm 200 years ago. And, although dark and dramatic at its core, it is still a fairy tale, weaving together the magic of love, hope and happily ever to leave audiences mesmerised and inspired.