In October 2018, Debbie Turner was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Cape Town City Ballet. She founded the Cape Academy of Performing Arts in 1985 and went on to become the founding Artistic Director of the Cape Dance Company in 1995. Recently, she sat on the prestigious panel of judges for the inaugural 2018 season of M-Net’s Dancing With The Stars SA. She has won many awards for her choreography including the FNB Vita Award, and a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival for Cape Dance Company’s Blue. In addition, the school received a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival for Bittersweet in 2013, which resulted in the production of Between The Lines the following year on the Arena Programme and at the inaugural Cape Town Fringe Festival. Debbie is committed to restoring, revitalising and aligning South African dance with the 21st Century global trends of performance through sustainable, multi-pronged approach to performance excellence, diverse repertory relevant to current times, dance education, and professional development of dancers while preserving the traditions of classical ballet and academic dance in general.
I first encountered the work of Ipeleng Merafe during this year’s Cape Town Fringe Festival where she was performing in #BalletMustFall, a satirical look into the world of ballet. A self-proclaimed modern-day gypsy, Ipeleng constantly finds herself on the move all in pursuit of her passion for dance. From South Africa to Paris to New York and more, Ipeleng is a supernova in the dance world who shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.