Ballet competition forges ahead in hybrid event

South African International Ballet Competition patron Connie September, seated, with Artscape CEO Marlene le Roux. Picture supplied.

The 8th South African International Ballet Competition (SAIBC) will be presented as a hybrid event from Monday July 19 to Saturday July 24 at the Artscape Opera House.

Due to 2020’s restrictive lockdown regulations last year the SAIBC took place virtually including via an app.

This year some dancers will be competing via pre-recorded video submissions and others will perform before a small audience onstage at Artscape, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and has hosted the competition since inception in 2008.

Recorded entries will be adjudicated the week before the competition begins and the dancers competing at the theatre will be adjudicated by the jury via Zoom sessions during the competition week.

The 18-member panel of judges is once again made up of luminaries in the ballet world, some of whom will be present in the auditorium.

Patron of the SAIBC, Connie September has written to congratulate the competition’s founder and CEO Dirk Badenhorst. “While the Covid-19 pandemic may have paused life as we know it, the ballet world is still turning thanks to the perseverance, dedication and unrelenting commitment of those in the performing arts industry, a sector that has been one of the hardest hit since the first lockdown last year. In a time like this, artists are called upon to bring hope and inspiration and I commend all the participating dancers here and abroad for their strength and courage as they take part in the next SA International Ballet Competition,” said Ms September.

She noted how the arts and ballet world has undergone a year filled with important decisions – how to rebuild, reset and address the many challenges that lie ahead.

“While the response to our most immediate challenge—the global Covid-19 pandemic— is far from over, we are all challenged to optimise the immense potential for progress that cannot be overlooked. The ballet world also requires agility which is the ability to change focus quickly. For a dancer, this means constantly transferring weight from one side of the body or one foot to the other, or from the toes to the heels. For arts managers, changing focus is the realisation that what they once thought was the right route from Point A to Point B might now have changed, given the evidence at hand that new methods and tools are required to keep the stage and performing arts alive. This kind of shift requires core strength but it also requires confidence in facing the challenges at hand that bring new experiences. Everyone is fighting the same battle and even when times are rough, the unity and support from the virtual dance community is a blessing we may not have fully embraced until very recently.”

The competition will take place daily at Artscape from Monday July 19 to Friday July 23 at 5pm, and on Saturday July 24 at 2pm and will be open to the public with a capacity audience of 100. The final round on Saturday will be followed by the closing gala performance and awards ceremony at 7pm. Tickets for all SAIBC performances will be available via the ArtOfLife app and through Computicket.

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