Friends of the Ballet sponsors design and construction of ballet sets

August 26, 2014
Shannon Glover and Luis David Valle Ponce dance in La Bayadere. Photo by Lauge Sorensen with designs by Andrew Botha

Applauded as one of the great classics, on a par with Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère returns to the South African stage after an absence of many years when Joburg Ballet’s glittering new production, marking a first for the company, premieres at the Joburg Theatre on Friday 12 September.  La Bayadère shares the Spring Season with The Nutcracker Re-Imagined.

La Bayadère, or in English, The Temple Dancer, is a saga of love, passion and betrayal played out against the architectural splendours of Ancient India, brimming with classical dancing in the grand tradition.  Using state-of-the-art image projection technology, leading SA stage designer Andrew Botha has recreated the magnificent temples and palaces that make La Bayadère a feast of exotic settings.   Mr Botha’s designs are further enhanced by the Joburg Theatre’s new lighting system which has put the theatre on a par with the best in the world.

The design and construction of the sets for La Bayadère has been made possible through a generous gift from the Friends of the Ballet.  Dirk Badenhorst, Joburg Ballet CEO, expressed the company’s gratitude to the Friends for their support.

“Joburg Ballet values the work done by the Friends of the Ballet.  Our ballet company needs all the support we can get and the Friends are always there for us. Their funding of the La Bayadère sets is deeply appreciated and on behalf of the board, management, dancers and staff of Joburg Ballet we say thank you.”

At its centre, La Bayadère is a passionate love triangle in a be-jewelled setting, telling the story of an Indian temple dancer and her doomed love for a warrior who in turn is betrothed to a princess. Boasting some of classical ballet’s greatest showpieces, La Bayadère offers a feast of classical ballet at its most splendid.

La Bayadère is being produced and staged by artistic director Iain MacDonald, ballet mistress Lauren Dixon Seager, Cuban guest teacher Acela Piña Montoya and ballet master Michael Revie. Distinguished ballet coach and producer Denise Schultze will work with the company on La Bayadère before the premiere at the Joburg Theatre on Friday 12 September.

Coinciding with the ballet season at the Joburg Theatre will be an exhibition of paintings by Ken Gibson. Starting life in graphic design, Mr Gibson has had a long love affair with the arts and with dance in particular, and with a number of exhibitions and international commissions has a developed clientele in Johannesburg and London. Approached by the Friends of the Ballet, Mr. Gibson donated a piece to support the Joburg Ballet. Further inspired after spending time at the Joburg Ballet studios, he has dedicated the best part of 2014 to working on a dance portfolio for his upcoming exhibition which will be held during the ballet season at the Joburg Theatre from 12 to 28 September.

For more information, click here.

La Bayadere Temple Garden scene designed by Andrew Botha

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