‘Tin Soldier’ ballet to be retold at the Guild Theatre

A steadfast soldier, a graceful ballerina that steals his heart, a jealous jack-in-the-box and the wondrous world of toys – the children’s tale of The Tin Soldier will be told like never before on the Guild Theatre stage.
Created by South African choreographer Kirsten Isenberg, the story has been adapted into a full length ballet for the first time, and will be presented by The Joanna Wright School of Ballet in August.
“I’ve written the ballet from scratch, specifically for Jo’s [Wright] studio, so it’s the first time I’m staging it. The story has been adapted into a very short ballet by Balanchine [one of the most influential 20th century choreographers] with only two dancers, but never into a full length ballet or for a big cast,” said Isenberg, 36, who is originally from East London and now lives in Cape Town.
She began her ballet career as one of Wright’s students when she was five years old.
The original story is a literary fairy tale titled The Steadfast Tin Soldier. It is written by Hans Christian Andersen and chronicles the love of a toy tin soldier for a paper ballerina doll. In the end, the tin soldier dies trying to reunite with his true love.
While the original story has a bleak ending, Isenberg has adapted it into a happy tale, with a host of colourful characters and scenes that will be brought to life through dance.
This week, Isenberg has taught her choreography to Wright’s senior dancers, and will head back to Cape Town on Thursday. She will make a few more trips to her home town to put the ballet together before it is staged later this year.
“I love choreographing because I get to be creative, I get to be the one who creates something,” said Isenberg.
“I’m a neo-classical choreographer, so it has been a bit tricky to get Jo’s pupils used to a different, and sometimes more modern style, but I think it’s helped them to grow as dancers and me to grow as a choreographer and teacher.
“I’ve used classical music for this ballet, both from traditional classical composers and more modern classical composers of our time.”
Isenberg was one of Wright’s ballet students until she was 18. After matriculating from Stirling High School, she went on to study at the University of Cape Town (UCT) School of Dance where she graduated with a degree in choreography.
Since then Isenberg has danced with the Cape Town City Ballet and toured Asia as a dancer for an international production of The Phantom of The Opera.
She has choreographed for prestigious local dance companies including The Cape Town Dance Company, The Cape Town City Ballet and the Cape Town Junior Ballet Company, among many others.
The Tin Soldier will be staged at the Guild Theatre in East London from August 28 to 31...

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