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SCENE IT: IKIGAI, an exquisite ballet delight

Barbara Loots


Cape Town City Ballet’s latest offering, IKIGAI, is a theatrical delight. It is onstage at the Artscape Theatre until 28 August 2022, and not to be missed.

The Japanese word ‘ikigai’ means ‘reason for being’. With IKIGAI, the Cape Town City Ballet dances its way through the ethos and life values of that concept by way of three exquisite ballets: FALLING ANGELS, LES PATINEURS and POLARITY.

Jiři Kylián’s FALLING ANGELS, a contemporary work for eight women is a pulsing masterpiece. It is hypnotic in its ritualistic character of rhythmic beats and complex movement.

Frederick Ashton’s more classical LES PATINEURS (‘The Skaters’) is comically cute. I dare anyone who watches it not to smile at least once. It is utterly enchanting watching the Blue Boy and friends gleefully leap and twirl across the stage.

Kenneth Tindall’s POLARITY, dances into the realm of opposites. It gives a sense of optimism and calm even in the dark shadowy context of the performance. Its modern complexity is on display both in ambiance and in style.

The three pieces are complimentary in the energy each brings to the stage, and the dancers are exquisite in their performances.

Through the power of these three ballets, IKIGAI is the perfect collection of talent, style and technique. It presents itself as the best sampling of all ballet has to offer to anyone who has always wanted to go to the ballet, but never been sure what type of ballet is for them. This is your chance! Take a seat and let IKIGAI help you decide whether your taste is classical, contemporary or maybe even both! Personally, I fall in the latter category. I was absolutely mesmerized throughout all three performances.

IKIGAI has the power to capture the imagination of dance lovers of all ages. It is a well conceptualised, excellently staged production; high calibre ballet that enthrals and amazes. It offers a ballet outing for the whole family: even the kids in the audience sat spellbound from beginning to end.

It is possibly one of, if not the, best theatre outing since theatres opened their doors post lockdown. A night-out I would easily go and experience again, as it brought great joy to my theatre loving heart. Seeing the Artscape bar open again was a bonus too, especially as the show has two intervals.

You have until 28 August 2022 to see IKIGAI at the Artscape Theatre before run ends. Tickets are available via Computicket. Don’t delay, honestly, it is a lovely night out at theatre.


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