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Dance International
Written by: Lindsay McDonald & Samantha Saevitzon

SA has been dazzled by the Cuban dancers, now we’re offering South Africans the chance to learn how they achieve their internationally acclaimed technical brilliance.

Dirk Badenhorst and Iain MacDonald, CEO-designate and Artistic Director-designate of the company being created by the merging of Mzansi Productions and The South African Ballet Theatre (SABT), have announced a new initiative for SA dancers based on the internationally acclaimed Cuban training system.

As the merger process between Mzansi Productions and SABT consolidates into a new ballet and dance company, it is envisaged that the training initiative will develop into a fully-fledged vocational school feeding dancers directly into the professional company, and a South African centre of excellence for preparing dancers for professional stage.

The project is being launched in partnership with Cuban ballet, continuing and strengthening the dance ties with Cuba Dirk Badenhorst initiated in 2008 and which has played an increasing central role in ballet in SA over the last four years.

The training facility for dancers, to be based at the Dance Factory in Newtown, Johannesburg, and which opens its doors on Monday 4 June, will be headed on a rotating basis by visiting ballet teachers from the National Ballet School of Cuba.

The first Cuban teacher to fill this post will be Ms NorMaria Olaechea who will be in SA from May to August. She will be assisted by Cuban dancers Claudia Monja and Luis Bermudez de Castro, in SA until the end of the year.

The new facility will use the internationally respected Cuban ballet training system that has produced many acclaimed dancers but provision will be made for students also training in other methods (such as Cecchetti, DASA or RAD) to continue working with their accredited teachers and to take the examinations set by these institutions. The new school hopes to forge close links with the ballet training industry in SA and to make provision in its schedules for students already in training to continue working with their present teachers.

The activities of the new training project will not only benefit SA dance students but also SA teachers who will have the opportunity to be trained in the Cuban teaching methods.

The project will provide for the training of students in three age groups – ages 8 to 10 (Level 1), ages 11 to 13 (Level 2), and ages 14 to 18 (Level 3). It is envisaged that the School will operate every weekday afternoon at the Dance Factory from 15:30 to 18:30; as the School grows it is anticipated that there will also be weekday morning classes at the dance studios at the Joburg Theatre from 08:00 to 09:30. Each individual student will train four afternoons a week, leaving them one weekday afternoon as well as Saturdays to work with teachers in other training methods and syllabi. The classes will be of 90 minutes’ duration and boys and girls will be trained separately.

Thursday 17 May 2012at 15:30 at the Dance Factory, 10 Henry Nxumalo Street, Newtown

Monday 4 June 2012

R3500 to R5000 per month

For more information, contact Chloé Grové on 011-877 6897 or email:



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