A new short dance film created by Cape Town City Ballet and Norval Foundation honours the work of acclaimed artist William Kentridge.

In an imaginative marriage of ballet and sculpture, the online film is inspired by and set against a stage of Kentridge’s Why Should I Hesitate: Sculpture exhibition.

William Kentridge Why Should I Hesitate Sculpture CTCB dance

Why Should I Hesitate: Sculpture

Presented by Norval Foundation, Why Should I Hesitate: Sculpture was the first exhibition internationally to address Kentridge’s output as a sculptor, with a unique focus on this aspect of his practice.

The exhibition featured both new and historical artworks and brought the origins of these works, in props from his operas and images from his animations, stepping off the stage and out of the screen, confronting visitors directly at ground level.

To view the film, see here. 

Dancers from CTCB’s Choreolab programme each selected an artwork from the exhibition, which included iconic Kentridge works such as World On It’s Hind Legsand Singer Trio.

Informed by the narrative and lines of the work, the dancers created a short dance piece around it for inclusion in the film. The score was composed by Peter Johnson, who drew inspiration from the sculptures and the dancers’ movements as ‘live sculptures’.

“These have been difficult times for everyone in the arts sector and we build strength and continue to inspire creativity by collaborating with like-minded organisations. The digital space presents exciting different opportunities how we communicate our stories, pushing and exploring creative boundaries, while working towards our objective of taking ballet to as wide an audience as possible,” says Debbie Turner, CEO of Cape Town City Ballet.

Innovative virtual project 

“We are delighted to be partnering with Cape Town City Ballet on an innovative virtual project that harmonises two powerful art forms – dance and the visual arts. As a young, multidisciplinary institution, we value this dynamic interplay. Museums worldwide are looking at how dance – which until now has been performed almost exclusively in theatres – can be experienced in a more interactive and experimental museum context. The museum setting allows dance artists to engage with and interpret the artworks in a way that transforms both artwork and dancer, in a synthesis that generates new and exhilarating meanings and possibilities,” adds Elana Brundyn, CEO, Norval Foundation.

“Cape Town City Ballet’s conversation with William Kentridge’s monumental sculptures, in “Why Should  I Hesitate: Sculpture”, is a dramatic, visually arresting presentation of movement through negative space, evoking Kentridge’s theatrical training at the L’Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris.  Now more than ever, creative companies must stand united to find ways in which to celebrate all forms of artistic expression, transition for the times, and above all remain connected with our loyal audiences. We hope this is the first of many such collaborations.”

CTCB’s Choreolab programme was introduced in 2019 as a platform to incubate, nurture and invest in aspiring South African choreographers from within the Company. Dancers taking part on this year’s programme are Tamlyn Higgins, Mbulelo Jonas, Kristin Wilson, Kholekile Biyongo, Conrad Nusser, Gabriella Ghiaroni, Gabrielle Fairhead, Mia Labuschagne and Nicolas.

What: William Kentridge CTCB Why Should I Hesitate Sculpture
Tickets: R50, purchase on the link
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