We did not want it to end!

On Saturday, the Artscape Opera House hosted the opening night of Cape Town City Ballet’s SATORI. A trilogy of ballets ranging from neoclassical to modern contemporary kept us captivated and in awe of the Company’s ballerinas, many of whom danced in all three performances.

Gabriel Ravenscroft and Mia Labuschagne in Polarity
Photo: Paul Seaby

Now, your reviewers here in Cape Town will be the first to admit that, until recently, their ballet chat has been largely learnt from Natalie Portman and far too many viewings of Center Stage. We imagine some of our readers will be in a similar position and, in the spirit of TheatreZA, we have decided to add a ballet jargon glossary at the end of this review.

The opening ballet, Concerto Barocco, is a masterpiece by the father of neoclassical ballet, George Balanchine, staged by a former Balanchine NYC Ballet soloist, Diana White (yes, this is a perfect time to hit the Glossary). The all-female corps de ballet beautifully complimented the powerful pas de deux of principal dancers, Mariette Opperman and Kristel Paterson and senior soloist, Ivan Boonzaaier. The ballet, self-proclaimed as ‘plotless,’ draws the viewer into the energy and clean lines of the dancers.

Our second ballet, SHEEPLE, was a contemporary, captivating, and sometimes unsettling exploration of the power of the masses and the pervasive inclination of society to blindly follow the pack. Choreographed and staged by local dance treasure (and our new #wcw) Michelle Reid and performed to music from a selection of modern composers, this homegrown ballet fills the stage with emotion and movement.

After catching our breath, and a glass of wine at the intermission in the grand Opera House Bar we were treated to the final ballet, Polarity. Award winning choreographer Kenneth Tindall was inspired by the suggestion that opposites are interconnected and everything is dual. This was wonderfully brought to life by Opperman and Paterson and several pas de deux, no doubt with hard work behind the scenes by répétiteur, Dreda Blow. As was the case throughout the night, Wilhelm Disbergen’s lighting design brilliantly complimented the incredible athleticism of the dancers and transported us into the magic.

SATORI runs every evening at the Artscape until 9 November and we cannot recommend it enough! Tickets are available from the Artscape website and Computicket.

Kenneth Tindall’s Polarity
Photo: Paul Seaby


Neoclassical ballet: Style of 20th-century classical ballet exemplified by the works of George Balanchine. It strips classical ballet it of its detailed narrative and heavy theatrical setting.
George Balanchine: An American ballet choreographer styled as the father of American ballet, he co-founded the New York City Ballet and remained its Artistic Director for more than 35 years.
Corps de ballet: is the group of dancers who are not soloists. They are a permanent part of the ballet company and often work as a backdrop for the principal dancers.
Principal Dancers: Highest rank in a ballet company, can be male or female
Pas de deux: Duet dance, generally male and female but does not have to be
Soloists: dancer in a ballet company above the corps de ballet but below principal dancer
The G.O.A.Ts: Anna Pavlova, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev
Répétiteur: an accompanist, tutor or coach of ballet dancers or opera singers

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