For some years Keith Mackintosh, former principal dancer, ballet master and successful fundraiser with Cape Town City Ballet, has quietly acted as Cape Town’s roving ballet pedagogue ambassador.

Keith Mackintosh ballet dancer, Tivoli Ballet Theatre, Swan Lake Sadlers Wells
Keith Mackintosh

Tivoli Ballet Theatre

By regularly invited to teach overseas, visiting world class ballet companies, keeping and making contact with philanthropists supportive towards CTCB, Keith Mackintosh has successfully organised top overseas dancers to guest perform with CTCB at Artscape.

Over and above that he’s found the funding to meet expenses attached to these appearances. In fact it is fair to say that without Mackintosh, Cape Town audiences would never have benefited from watching such fine dancers as Agnes Oaks, Thomas Edur, and more recently Maxime Quiroga – to name but three.

Now formally retired from CTCB, Mackintosh is revelling in the freedom to accept invitations to teach in Europe. Presently his globetrotting is taking him to Copenhagen where he will give class to the Tivoli Ballet Theatre, then it’s off to London to work with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company during their Swan Lake season at Sadlers Wells. “These opportunities sometimes seem like a dream.  I often wonder how it all happened”

“Well, please explain how it did,” I replied.

“Although my dancing career began with Capab in 1967 and ended with CTCB in 2016, having trained in London throughout my dancing years I made a point of keeping contact with those I trained with and under. That meant not just phone calls or email.  It’s meant regularly travelling to the land of my birth, and beyond, to ensure keeping up to date with who’s who, and what current choreographic trends are.

“As a former CTCB ballet master I’ve found teaching an exciting extension of myself. So, when on my overseas sojourns I was asked to take the odd class I found the dancers responded well. Normally a critical bunch, I guess the word spread that my classes were okay and now I find myself with a marvelous second career as an international teacher.

“Each company is structured differently. Within their class time-frame my aim is a warm up rather than correcting technique. I spend about a third working through carefully constructed barre exercises. Centre practice involves 32 bar phrases for port de bras, adage, pirouettes and of course allegro. Strangely I’ve found dancers in the more contemporary/ neo classical inclined companies don’t like, or even want to jump – can you believe that? But I take that into consideration planning my class.”

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company during their Swan Lake season at Sadlers Wells
Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company during their Swan Lake season at Sadlers Wells

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures

While in Copenhagen Mackintosh will attend the Tivoli Ballet’s Nutcracker production performed in costumes designed by Queen Margrethe ll, who also designs for the Royal Danish Ballet. “Class for Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures company is bound to be different and a real adventure. For 30 years Matthew’s iconic groundbreaking theatrical dance company has been producing ballets with an extraordinary twist, and I’m really looking forward to that experience. Will tell you all about it when I come home!”

Over and above those engagements, Mackintosh will attend an Insight evening at the Royal Opera House’s new Linbury Theatre at which Royal Ballet’s principal dancer Marianela Núñez celebrates her 20th anniversary.

Maybe when Mackintosh returns, he’ll host an evening updating balletomanes on his findings.

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Who, what: Keith Mackintosh ballet