Excitement in dance circles has reached fever pitch as the fourth South African International Ballet Competition (SAIBC 2014) is currently taking place in the Mother City. Enthusiasts can catch the action at the Artscape Theatre until Sunday, February 23. Formerly known as the Cape Town International Ballet Competition, it is the only event of its kind on the African continent and attracts top dancers from SA and the World.
Dirk Badenhorst, founder and CEO of the competition that has taken place in Cape Town every second year since 2008, has assembled a distinguished panel of eight judges from around the world for the SAIBC 2014. The line-up includes the likes of Julio Bocca, Argentinean superstar, former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and an international guest artist applauded as being among the world’s leading ballet stars in the last two decades of the 20th century; Dawn Weller, former ballerina of PACT Ballet, Artistic Director of PACT Ballet/The State Theatre Ballet from 1983 to 2000, and now Director of Australia’s Graduate College of Dance; Hae Shik Kim, Founding Dean of the Korean National University of Arts School of Dance, former ballerina and Artistic Director of the Korean National Ballet, now Artistic Director of the Seoul International Dance Competition; and Xin Lili, former ballerina, now choreographer and artistic director of the Shanghai Ballet.
Since the inaugural SAIBC four years ago, the competition has been hailed by dance enthusiasts around the country as one of the most exciting happenings on the South African dance calendar because of its success in attracting the creme de la creme of ballet talent who compete for gold, silver and bronze medals and substantial monetary prizes. In past years, the event has been likened to a World Cup of Ballet and the Ballet Olympics as dancers display breathtaking athletic abilities and technical prowess and go head to head for the coveted top spots on the ‘podium’ and R340000 in prize money.
A third age division, Scholar, has opened the competition to dancers aged 12 to 15 years. The other categories are Junior (16 to 20 years) and Senior (21 to 28 years). This year the 48 participants are from Switzerland, Cuba, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, China and includes, at 68, the biggest number of South African entrants to date.
The Elimination Rounds will take place until Thursday, February 20 at 6pm; the Finals is on Friday, February 21 at 7:30pm and the Awards evening, where the top five dancers in each category will compete for gold, silver and bronze medal placement and monetary prizes, will take place on Saturday, February 22 at 7:30pm.
The Gala performances are on Sunday, February 23 at 3pm and 7:30pm, and will showcase the competition winners, the Young Korean Ballet Stars from South Korea and top dancers from the National Ballet School of Cuba.
* The daily competition schedule can be found on www.ctibc.com. Tickets cost R60 for the Elimination Rounds and from R150 to to R350 for the Finals, Awards and Gala evenings, via Computicket, or Artscape Dial-A-Seat on 0214217695 and 0861 915 8000. Tickets for the Gala performance are from R120 to R360 via Computicket.