The Artscape Opera House in Cape Town is to play host to a prestigious international ballet competition, to be known as the South African International Ballet Competition (SAIBC). It will take place in January 2008 and is the initiative of Dirk Badenhorst, the former CEO of the South African Ballet Theatre in Johannesburg.
Providing an international showcase for local and foreign dancers, this competition, like its counterparts at Varna in Bulgaria, Jacksonville in the USA and the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland, will typically enable directors of various dance companies in SA and abroad to seek out new and exciting talent. The alumni of the afore-mentioned international competitions include Rudolph Nureyev, Sylvie Guillem and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Mr. Badenhorst, the CEO of the SAIBC, has appointed the following members to his competition Board, all experts in their various fields. They are Boniswa Peziswa, the Executive Director of Network BBDO, Andrew Gilder, an environmental lawyer and former dancer, Ann Wixley, an Activation Director at Notabene and a former ballerina, Suzie Frankel, a ballet teacher and administrator, Rita van den Heever, the Head of the University of Johannesburg's Arts Centre and Academy and Allison Foat, a publicist and former ballerina. The panel of judges will consist of high profile dance personalities from South Africa and overseas and includes Denise Schultze, the former Co-Artistic Director of PACT Ballet, Ballet West in Salt Lake City and a guest teacher with ballet companies and schools in SA and around the world. Says Mr. Badenhorst, "The SAIBC will be a way of ensuring that all dance companies and training institutions in our country benefit from working together and collectively having access to the guests from the international ballet world."
This competition will be a boost to tourism and income in the Mother City, providing another showcase opportunity for South Africa and the nation's culture, to foreigners and will enhance Cape Town's status as the cultural gateway to Africa. It will furthermore place the city and the country on the Arts & Culture map, specifically with regard to the fine art of classical and contemporary ballet and dance. The SAIBC will also serve as a platform to draw existing amateur and professional dance companies together to learn from each other through competitive engagement and enabling them to grow their audiences through event attendance.
Additionally, the organisers of the SAIBC will arrange workshops by visiting and local professionals that will benefit young dancers from historically disadvantaged communities as they interact with contestants and visiting teachers. The SAIBC will specifically target the growing number of dance projects that are currently being run throughout the City and its surrounds.
The competition categories are divided into a Junior/Amateur Division (15-18 years) and a Senior/Professional Division (19- 28 years). The judging criteria for the two categories will differ and each will work on a point system per round. There will be cash prizes in all divisions, with the winner in the senior category receiving R100, 000 and the winner in the junior section being awarded R80,000. The Guernsey-based Michel Tesson Performing Arts Trust will be donating most of the prize money.
The competition will be held from the 14-19 January 2008 at the Artcape Opera House. The closing date for the competition is 3rd September, 2007 and for further enquiries concerning the competition rules and the application criteria, please e-mail Dirk Badenhorst on firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets will be available from Computicket at a later date. Please watch the press for details.
Allison Foat - DIVA PR