A casual Facebook comment prompted a collaborative relationship between East London’s Christian Dance Academy and America’s premier Christian ballet academy called Ballet Magnificat!, which will perform at the Guild Theatre this weekend.
Christian Dance Academy principal teacher, Kati Ansell, said she invited the American company to East London after seeing them do outreach work in Kenya six years ago.
“I posted that when they are in Africa again we would host them in East London.”
A year later Ballet Magnificat! accepted Ansell’s invitation and has now performed twice in East London.
“A few of our dancers have also been over to Jackson, Mississippi to attend summer schools there. I went over to do a teacher’s course,” said Ansell. “It broadens our dancers’ horizons and shows them that dance can take them around the world.”
The US company was founded in 1986 by International Ballet Competition silver medallist Kathy Thibodeaux and her husband Keith.
Fourteen dancers from Ballet Magnificat! will be performing two shows of Deliver Us! at the Guild Theatre this weekend. Based on Dreamworks’ The Prince of Egypt, the ballet tells the story of Moses standing up to the Pharaoh and delivering his people out of slavery in Egypt.
Deliver Us! was first performed in 2001 and has since toured to Asia, Europe, North and South America and the Middle East. Ansell’s senior dancers, who have formed the DaySpring Dance Company, will open the show.
“Their shows are excellent and their dancing is passionate and non-compromising. I hope East Londoners support them because they raise their own ticket fare to fly here and we just give them a honorarium,” said Ansell.
Six East London families will be hosting the company’s dancers, while local businesses will sponsor their meals.
As they have an interest in special needs, Ballet Magnificat! will perform free excerpts from their show at College Street Primary School tomorrow and will also host workshops for East London dance schools or anyone interested in attending a 90-minute class next Monday and Tuesday. Classes cost R150. Consult www.christiandanceacademy.co.za for more information.
Deliver Us! will be staged at the Guild Theatre on Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets costing R175 for adults, R150 for children and pensioners and R100 for the front and back rows are available at the Guild or at Computicket. — firstname.lastname@example.org