Amra-Faye Wright is an award-winning actress best known for portraying Velma Kelly in Chicago the Musical, both on Broadway, London’s West End and in international tours. She trained extensively as a classical and jazz dancer and began her career performing in the Spectacular Musical Revues at Sun City. She spent the following years developing her skills in many musical genres and obtained a diploma in Contemporary Music at Allenby College in Johannesburg, which has resulted in a versatile and eclectic performance style. After starring in Viva Sun City at Sun City Theatre, Amra-Faye left for Monte Carlo where she performed as lead artist in the world famous Cabaret du Casino for two years. Her gift for story-telling led her to write, and perform her first one-woman revue, Rouge Pulp, which enjoyed a sellout season and prompted her to write Drinks on Me and It’s Not Where I Start. In 2005, she was awarded the Naledi Theatre Award and the Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for her performance in the South African production of Chicago. Continue reading
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.
Adele Blank is a choreographer, dance instructor and Director of Free Flight Dance Company, which she formed in 1987. She has trained, performed, choreographed and taught extensively in classical ballet and contemporary dance both locally and abroad. Since the beginning of the millennium, Adele’s artistic reach has extended far beyond the realm of dance. She has been responsible for numerous local and international TV adverts, movies, operas, fundraisers and a host of industrial theatre productions. Whilst coaching and teaching, she has created for many companies and is very involved in community and outreach programmes. Adele is a recipient of the Arts & Culture Trust Lifetime Achievement Award for Dance. We sat down to chat with her about devoting her life to dance and directing her latest project, Blue Violin, which will be performed at Artscape for a limited run. Continue reading
Mariëtte Opperman began dancing at the age of seven. She trained under Paula Olivier and later did an intensive vocational study with Martin Schönberg. She started her professional career in 2008 at the South African Ballet Theatre. She joined Cape Town City Ballet in 2010, where she is currently a senior soloist. Mariëtte also performed professionally in Stockholm, Sweden for a year. Her most memorable roles to date include the Black Swan in Swan Lake, Diane in Diane and Acteon, Kitri in Don Quixote, Sugar Plum in The Nutcracker, Firebird in Firebird, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Giselle in Giselle. She is currently gearing up to take on the titular role in Veronica Paeper’s production of Cinderella for Cape Town City Ballet.
Prolific choreographer and ballet dancer, Veronica Paeper has created more than 40 ballets, among them sixteen full-length works. During her performing career Veronica rose to become a principal dancer with three South African companies; CAPAB Ballet, PACT Ballet and PACOFS Ballet. Her latest production, Carmen, is a restaging of her award-winning choreography and makes its way to Joburg Ballet for a limited engagement. Continue reading
Less than a year ago, Esther Nasser was named CEO of Joburg Ballet. As a choreographer, Nasser has created an extensive repertoire of new works to both commissioned and existing music and soundtracks, winning several awards for choreography. Nasser became involved in transformation in dance and theatre before South Africa achieved democracy in 1994 and remains actively involved in the process. She has established community and outreach projects, winning the Gauteng Achievement Community/Outreach Award in 1999. Nasser has also taught and lectured at leading SA universities and technikons, and has choreographed and directed extensively for television. Continue reading
Joburg Ballet’s prima ballerina Burnise Silvius has announced that she will be retiring from the stage at the end of the upcoming season of La Traviata – The Ballet at Joburg Theatre. Professionally, Burnise has been dancing for over twenty years and has performed all over the world playing some of ballet’s most iconic and challenging roles. We sat down with Burnise to chat about her retirement and reflect back on her incredible career.
Laura Bösenberg and Kim Vieira are senior principal dancers with The Cape Town City Ballet. Between the two of them they have over 30 years of professional ballet experience. Currently Laura and Kim are starring in Peter Pan and Tinkerbell as ‘Tinkerbell’ and ‘Wendy’ respectively. They have both spent countless hours working on their craft and have tackled some of ballet’s most challenging roles, yet despite reaching the highest position in the company, they still rehearse almost every single day. Next year they will alternate the role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at Maynardville. We were please to sit down and get to know the women behind these iconic roles.
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.
Professor Elizabeth Triegaardt has made a career out of her love and passion for dance. A former ballerina, Ms. Triegaardt currently holds the position of Honorary Executive Director of the Cape Town City Ballet, a company she has remained with and stayed fiercely loyal to since graduating from UCT. Her full bio and more information about upcoming Cape Town City Ballet productions will be linked below. Continue reading