THE KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Youth Ballet’s production of The Ugly Duckling will enchant dance and theatre-lovers of all ages, making it an unmissable treat for the school holidays, writes ESTELLE SINKINS.
Running at the Hilton College Theatre from July 14 to 15, the show features 75 dancers of all ages from Pietermaritzburg and the Midlands and four dancers from the Cape Town City Ballet – former Maritzburg dancers, Stephen Underwood and Sascha Nott, Hannah Ward from Durban and Ivan Boonzaier.
And to ensure everyone gets a moment to shine, Robin van Wyk, the artistic director of the Cape Town City Ballet, has expanded the Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale include ducks and ducklings flocks of geese, chickens and swans, cupids, huntresses, gypsies and skaters.
Speaking to The Witness during final rehearsals at the weekend, Van Wyk said he was excited to get The Ugly Duckling on stage.
“The teachers and their students have all worked really hard and they have been rehearsed really well,” the dancer and choreographer, who grew up and learned his ballet in Pietermaritzburg, said.
“It’s also going to be a real treat for the families and friends of Hannah [Ward], who recently danced the role of Odette in Swan Lake in Cape Town, and will be dancing the role of the Swan Queen in The Ugly Duckling.
“And, I know Sascha [Knott] and Stephen [Underwood], who learned their ballet here in ‘Maritzburg are looking forward to performing at home. Sascha will be dancing the roles of Red Hen and Mary Mary Quite Contrary, while Stephen is doing several roles, including Jack Frost, the Wolf and Mr Pudding.”
The fairytale tells the story of a duckling who is ostracised and ridiculed for being different, only to become a stunning swan. Dancing the role of the Male Swan will be Cape Town City Ballet dancer, Boonzaier, while that of the Ugly Duckling will be shared by Jamie Knott and Amber Sanders.
Van Wyk is hoping that ‘Maritzburg and Midlands residents will come out in force to support the show. “People are always looking for events to entertain the children in the holidays… The Ugly Duckling is the perfect show for the whole family. Everyone from little ones to grannies and grandpas will love it,” he added.
“This show has everything from Grand Pa De Deux to cute little ones playing Cupids and Chickens – and Hilton is a lovely theatre. We really love performing there.”
Performances of The Ugly Duckling – which is being staged in association with the Cape Town City Ballet – will take place at the Hilton College Theatre at 3 pm and 7 pm on Friday, July 14 and at 3 pm and 6.30 pm on Saturday, July 15.
Tickets are R100 (R80 for pensioners and children under 12). Inquiries: 033 383 0126.