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BWW Interview: Joburg Ballet's Esther Nasser on Presenting New Programme SOLO FLIGHT

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Ballet company postpones second season but makes way for new programme of solo pieces and duets

BWW Interview: Joburg Ballet's Esther Nasser on Presenting New Programme SOLO FLIGHT

Having to replace their scheduled second season, EVOLVE, with a new programme this August, Joburg Ballet has expertly adapted their performing to fit current circumstances. CEO Esther Nasser tells BroadwayWorld of the company's journey thus far, and what to look forward to with the ballet's upcoming performances.

BWW: To begin with, how has Joburg Ballet adapted to performing over the past year? What has this been like?

Esther: As you can imagine, challenging! We brought the Company back into the studios in June last year, and have been relatively unscathed by the pandemic. Obviously we work strictly in accordance with the COVID Policy that was put in place for us by our lawyers. We did several performances at the end of 2020 in open venues, including the Festival of Lights at the zoo. The company managed to present their first season, BALLET AND BEYOND, in the main theatre at Joburg Theatre, and a number of in-house studio performances, such as the highly successful run of RAW, a programme presenting new works by company members.

BWW Interview: Joburg Ballet's Esther Nasser on Presenting New Programme SOLO FLIGHT
Monike Cristina and Ivan Domiciano
in SOLO FLIGHT

Joburg Ballet was due to perform their second season, EVOLVE, in July, but unfortunately we went into lockdown. We managed to keep the company going through Zoom classes and rehearsals. The programme needed to be adjusted to stay in line with the COVID protocols, and changed the programme to feature solo's, pas de deux's, quartets and trios.

BWW: Can you tell us a bit about EVOLVE?

Esther: EVOLVE was a programme of exciting new works by company members. Because of the involvement of the entire company in many of the works, and the stamina required, we needed to adjust the programme to work in bubbles, since the lockdown required the dancers to work from home. That had a huge impact on the dancer's stamina, hence it had to be postponed to 2022 and replaced by SOLO FLIGHT.

BWW: Was the decision difficult to postpone this production?

Esther: Absolutely. Because it was such an exciting programme, which showcased the wonderful choreographic talent in the company at present. Shannon Glover, Tumelo Lekana, Mario Gaglione, and excerpts from Paquita made up an entertaining programme and showcased the company at its best.

BWW: What has been the most challenging part of putting together SOLO FLIGHT?

Esther: Choosing repertoire which would showcase the dancers to the best of their ability, and how we were going to rehearse them in bubbles.

BWW Interview: Joburg Ballet's Esther Nasser on Presenting New Programme SOLO FLIGHT
Mario Gaglione in SOLO FLIGHT

BWW: And what has been the most rewarding?

Esther: Undoubtedly the spirit of the dancers and their commitment to adapt under very trying circumstances. Kudos to them and their remarkable resilience.

BWW: This production is said to feature two iconic duets and a newly choreographed solo which is exciting! What else can audiences look forward to with SOLO FLIGHT?

Esther: Joburg Ballet's ability to present an excellent evening of entertainment and welcoming the audiences back into the theatre throughout the year!

BWW: Aside from restaging EVOLVE next year, what do you hope for in the future for Joburg Ballet in the coming years?

Esther: Most importantly, the development of South African talent on every level of dance, the introduction of new works into the repertoire, while presenting the best of the classics.

Photo credit: Lauge Sorensen


SOLO FLIGHT will be performed at Joburg Theatre from 12-15 August at 18:30, with matinee performances on 14 and 15 August at 15:00, and a performance on 15 August at 11:00. Tickets cost R280 with discounts offered for Friends of the Ballet and pensioners. Bookings can be made through Joburg Theatre Box Office; or tel. 0861 670 670; or online at www.joburgtheatre.com.


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