SCENE IT: ALCHEMY at the Artscape is pure ballet magic

Barbara Loots

ALCHEMY - THREE DANCES is Cape Town City Ballet's vibrant spring offering, onstage at the Artscape Opera House until 13 November 2021. It is a feast for the eyes for all who appreciate the magic of dance.

With the first dance, ALCHEMY invites the audience to experience the allure of Concerto Barocco, choreographed by George Balanchine to the music of Bach. This neo-classical piece, which showcases the talent of an ensemble of eight, is performed by permission of the ©The George Balanchine Trust and staged by Diana White. It is a plotless ballet that is all about precision and technique as it sees the dancers gracefully flow through intricate movements and patterns.


The second piece, Falling Angels, choreographed by Jiři Kylián, is a modern work. Staged by Elke Schepers (who sets a variety of Kylián’s works across the world), this ballet is a balance of discipline and freedom. Although one would expect these two concepts to stand in stark contrast, this hypnotic piece for eight women is a contemporary illustration of the possibility of finding fluidity in perceived rigidity. It breaks the conformist mold by presenting a fantastic visual display of rapid, erratic and staccato movements vividly performed by the ensemble. The energetic movements are aided by strong musical beats (with score composed by Steve Reich) which merges to up the dramatic tension and anxiety of this dance in a most exquisite way: it is so beautiful and mesmerising, you may actually forget to breathe. It is further accentuated by the dramatic lighting design of Kylián (concept) and Joop Caboort (realisation). Falling Angels truly captures the imagination.


The ballet experience that is ALCHEMY ends on a high note with the cheeky Troy Game by acclaimed choreographer Robert North. A ballet for eight men, it is a visual treat. Conceptually it embraces playful fighting with Ancient Greek flair. It is a dynamic fusion of technique and amusement; a colourful explosion of leaps and pirouettes. This ballet, staged by Julian Moss, promises to fascinate and enchant. I could not help but smile from beginning to end as Troy Game is pure joy.


You have until 13 November 2021 to experience ALCHEMY – THREE DANCES in all its magical facets. Tickets are available online through Computicket. All Covid-19 protocols are observed, so seats are limited.