SAIBC Gala Evening On Saturday evening, 30 July 2022, at a splendidly diverse Gala, the week long 9th South African International Ballet Competition (SAIBC) came to a fantastic finish at Artscape, says SHEILA CHISHOLM:

Against a colourful backdrop of contestants’ flags, dancers, aged between six and 19 years from 15 countries, performed before seven international adjudicators – Artemiy Pyzhov (Bolshoi trained dancer/teacher in Slovakia); Roberta Martins (Ballet Teacher Zurich Dance Academy); Ruan Galdino (Brazilian trained presently Joburg Ballet Senior Soloist and BIB co-founder); Ioshinobu Navarro Sanler (Spain/Cuba Cuban Danca Methodology expert, Alicia Alonso Institute from the Alicia Alonso Foundation); Christopher Bohm (Berlin Guest Ballet Master); and Debbie Turner (CEO Cape Town City Ballet); online was Prof Geung Soo Kim (Chang-Aug University Tanzalymp, Asia).

Although I witnessed cases where camera work ineffectively showcased a dancer, SAIBC rules governing accepting videos opened opportunities for competitors, unable to travel, to test their Classical or Contemporary technical/artistic skills against others. As eight of the 21 medals awarded went to online competitors, they proved this hybrid competition worthwhile.

Gala offically opened

Following tradition Dirk Badenhorst (CEO) opened Gala proceedings, welcoming honoured guests and thanking SAIBC’s valuable sponsors.

After formalities, Mzansi Ballet’s Shana Dewey and Marlon Ballester (who hails from Cuba) performed the exciting Messerer’s Spring Waters pas de deux. Then the tiniest tot Novice winner delighted in her Fairy solo as did a charmingly mature Scholar Noelie Schulz in her pink costume.

SAIBC Gala Evening

In a welcome break from previous ‘end of competition’ Galas, medals were awarded in between dance sequences.  Top winner Nico Prinsloo (13) received Gold for Classical and Contemporary solos. He also won the Geung Soo Kim Award for the Most Promising South African Dancer, a prize that came with R10,000.

Cuban dancers Caroline Rodrigues (18) and partner Pedro Dominguez (18) each received Gold for their Classical and Contemporary dances. The pair also received the Special Prize for

Johannesburg’s Zeinab Kone (14) received a third Special Prize.

Mzansi’s new ballet

Over and above showcasing talented local and international dancers, undoubtedly the Gala’s highlights were preview extracts from Mzansi’s new ballet – Gold Rhino of Mapungube (Hill of the Jackal).  We learnt that “this is a multi-faceted ballet in contemporary style celebrating South African and African history, heritage and creativity.”

Swathed in David Tlale’s earthy stylised indigenous grasses, with Dr Cara Stacey, Mpho Molikeng and Matthijs van Dijk’s haunting score, featuring Grammy award-winning Wouter Kellerman, Mzansi dancers performed to the creative choreography of Angela and Michael Revie, Xola Willie and Aviwe November.

Final results: Please click here