PRESS: SA International Ballet Competition kicks off on WORLD BALLET DAY on 19 October at Artscape

Allison Foat (Publicist)

The 8th South African Ballet International Ballet Competition (SAIBC) kicks off the Artscape Theatre Centre in Cape Town on 19 October 2021.

This year sees a Jury that represents every continent and the highest number of entrants to date- 180 dancers – all taking advantage of the chance to be seen by an outstanding Panel comprised of some of the world’s leading the heads of some of the best ballet companies, academies and training institutions in the world.


The majority of dancers have submitted video entries with approximately 70 entrants competing onstage at the Artscape Opera House, the world class venue that has hosted the prestigious event since the SAIBC’s inception in 2008 and celebrates its 50th anniversary milestone this year. Prizes include access to summer intensive programmes, internships and scholarships to the finest facilities.


Said Cape Town’s Executive Mayor Dan Plato, “The City of Cape Town is proud to be a host city and provide support to the South African Ballet International Ballet Competition (SAIBC). As an opportunity city, Cape Town always strives to provide platforms in which young people can express their talent on a large stage. Partnering with the SAIBC is also one of the many avenues in which the City of Cape Town provides support to the performing arts and we are looking forward to hosting these talented performers in our beautiful city.”


The SAIBC Founder and CEO Dirk Badenhorst has also received several well wishes from Minister Anroux Marais as well as his peers around the world. Kevin O’Hare, the Artistic Director of The Royal Ballet said, “I’d like to wish the 8th South African International Ballet Competition a really successful time. I have been with you in South Africa before and I’ve loved this competition, and how clever of you to do it as a hybrid so you get a mix live and recorded dance. From me to you to, have a wonderful time and good luck to all the competitors."


A new Novice category has been introduced for entrants aged 6 to 8 years of age, from Africa only. Commenting on this, Badenhorst said, “We want to identify young talent and help connect these dancers from various African countries with excellent ballet schools and assist them with introductions into the international arena. The SAIBC has always been about using ballet as a platform for diplomacy and as a means to connect dancers, teachers and coaches as much as possible.” The other categories are Scholars age 9 to 11, Juniors age 12 to 15 and Seniors age 16 to 19.


In between the live performances, video entries will be flighted on a huge backdrop on the stage. Throughout the SAIBC the in-house and online audience will be able to watch those dancers competing via pre-recorded video and the Gala, solo variations (live and pre-recorded) and pas de deux. Before the competition begins each week-day at 17h00, competitors will do a ballet class on the Artscape stage from 15h45 to 16h45. On some days the guest teachers will conduct the class live from other countries and audiences joining at the theatre and online will be able to observe the last part of the class and watch the Jury interviews immediately thereafter.


At any given time, eight judges will be observing and assessing all the entrants. The three South African Jury embers - Allison Hendricks, CEO of Dance for All; Sean Bovim, Artistic Director of Bovim Ballet and Xola Willie from Mzansi Ballet- will be adjudicating in the theatre while the overseas-based panel members will log in from around the world. Each session will be recorded in case of a break in the live feed, thus enabling Judges to continue with their scoring.


The 18-member jury represents six continents for the first time in the history of the SAIBC, a monumental achievement and testament to the competition’s stellar reputation globally. aside from the three attending in person at Artscape, the remaining panellists are Augustina Galizzi, Principal ballerina with the National Ballet of Mexico; Andile Ndlovu (RSA/USA), dancer with The Washington Ballet; Hope Keelan (UK), ballet teacher at The Royal Ballet School and Artistic Manager at White Lodge; Alexei Ilin (Russia), Senior Lecturer at The Vaganova Academy of Russia; Viviana Durante (Italy/UK), Director of Dance at English National Ballet School; Professor Geung Soo Kim (South Korea), President of the World Dance Alliance Korea; Charmaine Hunter (USA), Principal of the Orlando Ballet School; ; Cooper Rust (USA/Kenya) from the Dance Centre Kenya; Sheryn Lister (RSA/Australia), Founder of Kinderballet; Wei Wu (China), Ballet Master at Liaoning Ballet; Christoph Bӧhm (Germany), from the Berlin State Ballet School; Oscar Cordoba (Spain/Switzerland), on faculty at the Zurich Dance Academy; Magaly Suarez Cuba/USA), the Founder-Director of the Art of Classical Ballet; Ioshinobu Navaro Sanler (Spain/Cuba) from the Alicia Alonso Dance Institute and the Alicia Alonso Dance Foundation, and Tanya Howard (RSA/Canada), soloist with The National Ballet of Canada.


The SAIBC 2021 in association with Artscape is generously supported by the Western Cape Government's Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, the City of Cape Town and the Joan St Leger Lindbergh Charitable Trust.


At the closing Gala performance on Saturday 23 October, there will be several items performed by guest artists from Cape Town City Ballet and Mzansi Ballet will present an excerpt from their brand new dance production The Golden Rhino, costumed by the award winning South African designer, David Tlale. The Finale item at the closing performance will include everyone that has competed at Artscape.


The SAIBC at Artscape is open to the public. Audience numbers are however limited due to ongoing pandemic protocols so advance booking is highly recommended. The competition takes place daily from Tuesday 19 to Saturday 23 October starting at 17h00, and on Saturday 23 at 12h00.


The closing performance and awards ceremony is at 19h00. The entire competition and the gala performance can also be viewed online with tickets R70 per person. Theatre seats COST from R100 to R250 via the ArtOfLife app that is available for download in the App Store and Google Play Store.


To book via Computicket click https://bit.ly/39GwoSC (to watch online) and https://tickets.computicket.com/event/the_8th_saibc/7169948 (to watch at the theatre).