SA ballet shines in dark times

first_imgSABT cast dancing in Coppelia, an acclaimed French romance ballet. (Image: SABT) SABT dancers Yolandi Olckers and Patrick Mngeni at a rehearsal. (Image: Bongani Nkosi) Teenagers from Alexandra township honing their skills at SABT studios in Braamfontein. (Image: Bongani Nkosi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Fiona Budd Co-director South African Ballet Theatre +27 11 877 6898 RELATED ARTICLES • South African theatre • Soweto’s state-of-the-art theatre • Celebrating heritage with dance • Robyn Orlin – dancing up a stormBongani NkosiThe South African Ballet Theatre (SABT) may be limping from the economic downturn, but it’s not letting that tarnish its reputation as the country’s most treasured and prolific classical dance company.The global recession is largely to blame for the company’s financial crisis, said SABT co-founder and director Fiona Budd. The theatre survives on funding, but the recession has led to a number of benefactors pulling out.Some of the former funders have resorted to supporting community establishments such as orphanages due to “social pressure”, and sponsorships of the 2010 Fifa World Cup “have also impacted us”, Budd added.Although the SABT is debt-free, it recently announced that it is facing threatening financial challenges and desperately needs funding. Due to this it’s had to put all activities on hold, including an exchange programme to Cairo, Egypt.The company launched an appeal for sponsorship in November and a number of generous individuals and companies have already responded, giving it a boost of R1.3-million (US$172 211). But this is just a fraction of the SABT’s annual budget of R12-million ($1.6-million), which includes monthly salaries of its dancers and management staff. It relies on funding for two-thirds of its budget.“If everyone gives a little we can do a lot,” said Budd.What’s even more encouraging, according to Budd, is that some donors have contributed far more than the asking sum of R2 000 ($264). Standard Bank made a donation of R10 000 ($1 325). Other companies that have responded to the call include South African Breweries, Air France, Sappi, First National Bank and Absa.Scores of individuals have also made significant contributions, including Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron, world-renowned artist William Kentridge and many others. The South African public is also being urged to participate by sending a mobile text message with the letters “SABT” to 39969. Fifteen rand (about $2) will be donated to the company for every message received.“The campaign is promising. We hope that companies will inspire each other,” Budd said. “A number of people are phoning in offering their help.”One business owner, who SABT wishes to keep anonymous, donated R1-million ($132 469).As a gesture of appreciation the theatre will give all contributing companies a 20% discount on tickets for its 2010 seasons.Making ballet productions more accessibleThe SABT has become increasingly reliant on outside funding because it has cut ticket prices to make productions more accessible to local audiences. “If we were to charge what we are supposed to charge no one would come to our seasons,” Budd said.Attendance has been impressive over the years, with each season attracting between 10 000 and 15 000 people. But revenue from ticket sales covers just a quarter of the SABT’s budget.“People [tend to] think that because the ballet company is glamorous it has a lot of money, which is not the case,” Budd said.The company is also appealing to government for funding. “We are a national asset. [The company] is a platform that is used to showcase South Africa’s talent and something that the government can be proud of.”Irrespective of the funding campaign’s outcome, the company won’t give up. “We are determined that we will never let it die. We are prepared to do whatever to keep it going.”“It’s better if we go through difficult times now and then pick up again,” Budd said.No stranger to adversityThe company has become a force to be reckoned with in South Africa’s dance industry since its establishment eight years ago. It was set up after the State Theatre Ballet in Pretoria closed down in 2000, and all the country’s top ballet dancers were retrenched.Their fervent passion for South African dance meant that early retirement or emigration weren’t options, so they came up with creative strategies to form a new, independent ballet company.The more experienced dancers – Angela Malan, Dirk Badenhorst, Karen Beukes, Iain MacDonald, Kimbrian Bergh and Budd – formed the steering committee of the new company, which came into being in January 2001. “We just jumped into the deep end,” said Budd. “It was a sacrifice.”Their first plan was to assemble a team of danseurs and ballerinas to stage a production at the State Theatre as soon as was possible. The theatre paid them in advance, ensuring that the team had an income.In March 2001 the SABT staged the timeless classic Giselle, which was hugely popular with attendance as high as 94%. “After that funding and sponsorships started coming in,” Budd said.Giselle was followed by “a very well-received” tour to the cities of Port Elizabeth, East London, Welkom and Bloemfontein.During their first few months the SABT also staged productions in established theatres such as the Playhouse in Durban and the Joburg Theatre. Their 2001 season of Swan Lake sold out completely.The company continued to grow over the years, and in 2004 it moved into its new studios in Braamfontein at the Joburg Theatre. It has a contract with the theatre to use the facilities until 2012. “For a start we had our own facilities. We’re fortunate to be located here,” Budd said.“The theatre is accessible. It has rejuvenated the whole area,” said SABT spokesperson Samantha Saevitzon.The SABT has wooed audiences at home and abroad, rating its 2006 performance in Moscow, Russia, as “the most memorable”.“We had a standing ovation – that was incredible,” Budd said.Its impressive reputation means it often attracts top international dancers. Humberto Montero – one of SABT’s seven soloists – is from Mexico, while fellow soloist Roberto Curti is from Italy. Senior Corps de Ballet members Guy Wheatstone and Hyun Kyung Cho are from the UK and Korea respectively.“We get applications from almost every country in the world, Cuba, China, India and many others … We’re recognised internationally for our work, people know that there is this ballet company sitting at the bottom tip of Africa,” Budd said.Developing talentSince its inception the SABT has worked hard at grooming potential stars, setting up the Graduates Programme in 2001 to for this purpose.The programme is a full-time, year-long course. The students, who have to have completed high school, are selected through auditions and trained by senior principal dancer Angela Malan and Russian-born ballet master Alexei Ilin.The SABT has selected 13 aspiring dancers for its 2010 programme. The annual auditions attract young dancers from all over South Africa, Saevitzon said.As part of the programme the SABT gives its student dancers supporting roles in productions and offers various dance-related subjects to study. Those who shine throughout the course are employed as members of the Corps de Ballet and have a chance to grow in the company.“That’s our aim, we want to have more home-grown talent,” Budd said.The SABT has a strong social conscience and offers free ballet classes to 300 Johannesburg youngsters in the disadvantaged areas of Alexandra, Soweto, Katlehong and Sophiatown; and in Pretoria’s Mamelodi and Eesterus townships. It also offers free lessons in Melville and various other areas around Johannesburg.For its efforts the company received the 2007 Proudly South African Nation Builder of the Year award.The goal of the SABT’s outreach programme is to train young dancers so that they can go on to join the company or become professionals in other theatres. Budd said that some of them, being teenagers of around 14 and 15 years, will be ready to become junior professionals by the time they finish high school.Promising dancers in the outreach programme are offered free extra lessons at the SABT’s Braamfontein studios. At least twice a week a group of 12 are bused in from Alexandra to get special training with Ilin.“Definitely, the most talented will join our company. In Alexandra there are these two boys who are extremely talented,” said Budd.Passion for classical balletBuilding on its initial success with Swan Lake and Giselle, the SABT has grown fond of staging all-time favourites, which also include Coppelia, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. “Our audiences love the classics,” Budd said.Because these productions bring in the numbers, the company has stopped doing new productions – they are just not financially viable. “If we do Swan Lake, for instance, we sell 15 000 tickets.”“We are very good at performing the classics. Our dancers love them because they are very challenging [to perform],” Saevitzon added.Despite its financial constraints, the SABT will stage two seasons next year at the Joburg Theatre. Swan Lake will be performed in March and the ballet adaptation of Carmen will run in August.last_img read more

Gilas begins buildup with closed-door practice

first_imgKammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa WATCH: ’Emotional’ Hayward recalls how his family felt after horrific injury LATEST STORIES QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort MOST READ Read Next CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Chot Reyes. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netTwenty-one days before the start of the 2017 Fiba World Cup qualifiers, Smart Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes is going down to business as he is set to hold his first practice session behind closed doors.The outspoken mentor made the announcement on Friday afternoon as he begins his preparations for the pair of home-and-away games later this month.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. center_img Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding “Yes we will practice but behind closed doors. No Gilas player/coach will grant any interview in the meantime. I hope you understand,” he wrote on his Twitter account @coachot.Yes we will practice but behind closed doors. No Gilas player/coach will grant any interview in d meantime. I hope you understand #💪❤️FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout— Chot Reyes (@coachot) November 3, 2017 Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Players who were earlier named in the national team pool are expected to show up, especially those were part of the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup squad which finished seventh place in Lebanon.Reyes is expecting a high turnout, especially with all 12 PBA teams giving the players the green light despite the impasse that has divided the Board of Governors in relation to the status of PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa. View commentslast_img read more

Baichung Bhutia hopes Ishan Pandita would play for India one day

first_imgFormer India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia hailed Ishan Pandita after the Bengaluru boy became the first Indian to get a professional contract from a La Liga club when he signed a one-year deal with CD Leganes.”I haven’t seen him play as he has never played in India. Nonetheless I would take this opportunity to congratulate him for his achievement. Bagging a contract with a La Liga team is no mean feat,” Bhutia said on Wednesday.Leganes, a club located on the outskirts of Madrid, got promotion to Spain’s top division football this season. They are currently placed 11th in the league table.Ishan Pandita in the centre (Facebook profile) Pandita has been handed the No.50 jersey on Tuesday. He has joined the first team but will start by playing for the junior side — Leganes B — due to his limited exposure and tender age.Leganes B ply their trade in the Tercera Division, Spain’s fourth division. (Bangaluru boy becomes first Indian to sign up for La Liga)”I would like the national coach (Stephen Constantine) to have a look at him. We would love players with international experience to play for the country. He can probably fit in the India U-20 team in the future,” Bhutia, who is also All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) advisor, said.The AIFF has long expressed its desire to host the U-20 World Cup, and it is learnt President Praful Patel also sought FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s help in the matter when the world football governing body’s chief visited Goa recently to launch the U-17 World Cup’s logo.advertisement”Heartiest congratulations to Ishan Pandita, first Indian to sign for Spanish @LaLiga Aclub. A landmark achievement at such a young age,” Patel tweeted on Wednesday.Heartiest congratulations to Ishan Pandita, first Indian to sign for Spanish @LaLiga club. A landmark achievement at such a young age. Praful Patel (@praful_patel) October 5, 2016AIFF Senior Vice-President Subrata Dutta said this will inspire Indian clubs to produce more such players who can play in Europe.”This is a fantastic achievement, to be playing in the Spanish League. This is a proud moment for us. I hope Indian clubs will produce more such talents who can go on to play in Europe and improve the standard of Indian football,” Dutta told IANS.Besides Leganes, Getafe had also shown interest in signing the Indian striker who has Kashmiri roots. But Getafe’s relegation from the top division after last season allowed Pandita to choose Leganes as his destination.Late last year, Pandita had an eight-month spell with the junior side of Almeria in the Spanish second division.But because he wasn’t of 18 years then, he couldn’t sign a professional contract.However, his early days began with Alcobendas CF, currently in Tercera Division.last_img read more

10 months agoHuddersfield boss Wagner: We score thousands of training goals

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Huddersfield boss Wagner: We score thousands of training goalsby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveHuddersfield Town boss David Wagner has called on his players to start converting their chances as they look to escape relegation this season.The Terriers have scored just four goals in their last six matches ahead of their bottom of the table clash with Fulham on Saturday.Wagner said: “In training it’s not about a lack of effort or attitude. In training they hit the back of the net thousands of times.”But in games it hasn’t clicked so far. This is the truth, but I think it is all about seeing the chance and taking the opportunity that is in front of you.”Recent results have affected our performances. In other games performances were on a very good level.”We defended well and created unbelievable opportunities but we didn’t score and this is the truth.”This is where we have to improve – we have to take steps to convert our chances, our performances and our ball possession.” last_img read more

9 months agoNewcastle boss Benitez: Chelsea quality was difference

first_imgNewcastle boss Benitez: Chelsea quality was differenceby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveNewcastle United boss Rafa Benitez says Chelsea’s quality made the difference for Saturday’s defeat.Chelsea won 2-1 with Willian proving the matchwinner.Benitez said afterwards, “When you’re playing against a very good team, sometimes these things can happen. We made a mistake but to be fair, Willian was great and we had to make double effort. To be fair we cannot complain about what the players were doing on the pitch.”We made a couple of big mistakes with the first goal and the first goal after we scored but overall we were fine in a lot of parts of the game. Always I talk about the final third decisions. Willian or Hazard or Pedro can make the difference and they have.”It’s even more important now. We know that we have difficult games and we play against two or three of the top sides in a row. We have to get the points we want.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

23 days agoParker delighted as Fulham thrash Reading

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Parker delighted as Fulham thrash Readingby Paul Vegas23 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveScott Parker was delighted with Fulham’s ferocious start in the 4-1 win over Reading on Tuesday.Parker’s Cottagers blasted three goals inside the opening half hour, with the hosts down to ten-men thanks to John Swift’s red-card.The win pushes Fulham up to fourth on the Championship table after 10 games.Speaking after the match, Parker said: “I was delighted with the performance.”I’ve been delighted with the performances over the past four or five weeks but the results have been missing a little bit.”That’s what most people usually look at and I understand that. But tonight, I thought that we were first class from start to finish.”In the first 30 minutes, we were devastating – even though they had a man sent off.”But, prior to that, I felt that we had really stamped our authority on the game and showed our quality.”We’re going to be a team very hard to deal with in the first 20 or 30 minutes. Even when Reading had 11 men, it was still difficult for them.”We moved the ball very quickly and with an intensity. And we were really clinical in the final third.”Over the past few weeks, we’ve worked a lot on getting that cutting edge about us.” last_img read more

KMC holds meeting to take stock of desiltation work

first_imgKolkata: Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) held a meeting with the state Irrigation & Waterways department on Monday, to take stock of desiltation work in the canals to ensure that water drains out through these canals properly during the monsoon and there is no accumulation of water. There are around 16 canals under the KMC area that come under the aegis of the state Irrigation department.”I had sought a report from the Irrigation department on March 13, on the progress in desiltation work of the clogged canals within a month. They have submitted a list of the canals and the projected time in which they will complete the work. They have also mentioned the time when they will take up such work again,” said Member, Mayor-in-Council (Drainage) Tarak Singh. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaSingh has directed his departmental DG Amit Roy to fix a date so that he can take stock of the desiltation work himself. “We have to ensure that during heavy rainfall, the water is able to pass through the gully pits into the underground drainage system, so that we can use our drainage pumping station to pump the water into the river through these canals,” said a senior official of the Drainage department who attended the meeting. The Kolkata Environment Improvement Investment Programme (KEIIP), with the help of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has integrated a few pumping stations while several pipelines have been cleansed during the dry weather. Pump capacities have also been increased. The meeting in KMC headquarters on Monday was chaired by Singh. State Irrigation minister Saumen Kumar Mahapatra could not attend the meeting because of his preoccupation but senior officials of his department attended the meeting along with officials of KMC’s Drainage department.last_img read more

Mirwaizs appearance before NIA paves ways for thorough probe into JK terror

first_imgNew Delhi: Appearance of separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq before the NIA has paved the way for a thorough probe into charges of terror funding and conspiracy against the Hurriyat leader, officials said Tuesday.Mirwaiz appeared before the National Investigation Agency for the second consecutive day on Tuesday for questioning in connection with a case related to funding of terror groups and separatist organisations in Jammu and Kashmir. “Appearance of Mirwaiz before the NIA proves the government’s determination to establish that Kashmiri separatist leaders will have to be held accountable to the law of the land. It has paved the way for thorough investigation into charges of terror funding and conspiracy against the Hurriyat leader,” a home ministry official said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The questioning of Mirwaiz by the NIA has been considered a significant development as he had been trying to evade the questioning by the probe agency by resorting to various stratagems. These include by not responding initially to the NIA summons at all, and later saying he was ready to be examined by NIA in Srinagar. “However, eventually he had to follow the summons and travel to New Delhi to answer questions from the NIA. This is in line with the government’s firm stance that separatist leaders cannot claim immunity and that they will be held accountable for laws of the land,” the official said. The NIA had conducted raids in February 2019 on allegations of terror funding and money laundering on the premises of Mirwaiz and other Hurriyat leaders like Yasin Malik and son of SAS Geelani, Naseem Geelani. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThey are part of Joint Resistance Leadership who frequently organise protests, stone pelting and shutdowns in the valley, disrupting normal life, impacting students and daily wage earners, businesses and tourism. The investigation against Naseem Geelani and others is proceeding as per law. Recently, legal hurdles had been cleared for resumption of trial in Jammu against Yasin Malik in the case of terrorist attack by JKLF militants in 1990 on IAF personnel which led to the death of four persons. “Yasin Malik had exploited the provisions in law to inordinately delay the trial. But relentless efforts by the home ministry have finally resulted in Malik’s arrest and transfer to Jammu jail. His plea for transfer of trial from Jammu to Srinagar has also been quashed,” another official said.last_img read more

Amitabh Bachchan Emraan Hashmi to share screen in mystery thriller

first_imgMumbai: Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi are teaming up for a mystery thriller, which is set to be released on February 21, 2020. It is the first collaboration between Bachchan and Hashmi. The currently-untitled film will be helmed by writer-director Rumi Jaffrey. “A film is a collaborative effort and when you have one of the best actors in front of the camera and a veteran producer behind the lens supporting you and leading all creative efforts, then making the film is a fantastic experience,” Jaffery said in a statement. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka The movie is produced by Anand Pandit Motion Pictures and Saraswati Entertainment Private Limited. Producer Anand Pandit said he is looking forward to the project with the two stars. “My friendship with Mr Bachchan goes back a long way. I have not met any other actor who matches his skill and commitment. It is an honour to be a part of creating a film with him, and I have always admired Emraan’s body of work, so am looking forward to seeing him onscreen with the legend for the first time,” Pandit said. The film, set to go on floors from May 10, also stars Annu Kapoor.last_img read more

Ohio State wide receivers impress in fall camp

Cody Cousino / For The LanternThen-junior Corey Brown avoids the defense during a game against Michigan on Nov. 24, 2012 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 26-21.Prior to coming to Ohio State, Urban Meyer’s teams had at least one thing in common: a healthy pass offense.It is an area that Meyer is looking to improve on in his second season at OSU, and he is counting on the wide receivers to grow and develop this fall into a group that could be similar to what he had when he was the coach of the Florida Gators.While Meyer was at Florida, the Gators only had one season where they averaged less than 213 yards per game through the air, a total that in his first season at Ohio State the Buckeyes fell far short of.During their undefeated season, OSU failed to reach the 200 yard mark through the air in all but four games, including only throwing for 97 yards during a 21-14 overtime victory at Wisconsin Nov. 17.Part of the problem with the Buckeyes’ passing game last year was the receiving corps, which only had two players who racked up more than 300 receiving yards. But with another year under their belts, along with an influx of young talent from Meyer’s second recruiting class, the OSU wide receivers are looking to make a big difference in the offense this season.Wide receivers coach Zach Smith said the receivers were weak last year, but in the offseason they have grown to become threats in the offense.“They’ve had trials, tribulations, had hard times, had great successes and so they have grown and learned from mistakes to the point where now they’re able to be a mature group and able to use those learning points in the past to make sure they don’t happen again and grow from them,” Smith said. “I’m pleased with the growth from them in the last year.”Junior quarterback Braxton Miller hinted that he’s looking to spread the ball around more this year, with his top two receivers senior Corey “Philly” Brown and junior Devin Smith returning this season.“We did less throwing last year, and there is going to be a lot of throwing this year,” Miller said.Brown, who led the team with 669 yards and 60 catches in 2012, is expecting a big jump in the team’s offensive production.“I think this year you can expect our offense to shoot up the charts if we keep doing what we are doing and try to eliminate the stupid mistakes, we could be one of the top offenses in the country,” Brown said.A lot of talk from fall camp surrounds junior Evan Spencer and his development into a potential star receiver.“What (Spencer has) shown flashes of at times, he’s really done consistently,” Zach Smith said. “He’s probably the one receiver that I’m most pleased with the step he’s took. That’s not to take away from Philly or Devin or guys that have taken steps. Evan has really taken a bigger step.”Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman made it clear Spencer is a starter and the rest of the receivers have also improved this fall.“The first thing that I’ve said earlier in camp was that our veterans are improved,” Herman said. “They’re better. Evan Spencer’s had a great camp. Evan Spencer’s a starting wide receiver at The Ohio State University. Philly Brown is better, Devin Smith is better. We’re better.”At OSU Media Day Aug. 11, Meyer said the top three receivers on the team were Devin Smith, Brown and Spencer, but that Spencer was having a great camp.An issue Spencer said he had last year was with hitting his routes and winning balls in the air, but has become much more confident as a player heading into the 2013 season.“Myself personally, I feel like I’m developing a little more as a route runner,” Spencer said Aug. 10. “That was my main thing this year that I was focusing on, making sure I am lowering out of my cuts, making sure every time the ball is up in the air I’m going up and getting it.”Spencer said he has taken on more of a leadership role this offseason, trying to get some of the younger players to feel more comfortable in the offense.“As an older guy, I take it upon myself to make sure that they know what they’re doing,” Spencer said. “I try to pride myself and make sure that they know what they’re doing all the time so they can go 100 percent.”Known as a big play receiver last year when he averaged 20.6 yards per catch, Devin Smith is hoping to have a big year with Miller throwing him the ball.“We talked all summer, trained all summer, we know where he’s going to place the ball, how I’m going to run my route and things like that,” Smith said about his relationship with Miller. “So it’s all about timing and we certainly got that down.”Spencer likes what he sees out of his fellow receivers, and said the offense is starting to come together.“Devin is running great routes with good speed and getting hands off, and Philly (is) explosive as always,” Spencer said. “It’s just good to see it’s all coming along.”Zach Smith is looking for his guys to have a big year, and help Miller improve on the weak passing numbers from last season.“Every guy that we’re counting on, every guy that we think is gonna be a contributing factor in our offense is capable and has shown the capability to be a dominate player,” Zach Smith said. “At least a good, functional player. We just need to see that consistently from every rep from every guy that we’re counting on.” read more