Funding and future name change announced by South African Mzansi Ballet

| June 24, 2013 | 0 Comments
Brooklyn Mack and Sanmarie Kreuzhuber in Don Quixote.

Ta-da! Brooklyn Mack and Sanmarie Kreuzhuber in Don Quixote. Photo courtesy SAMB.

The jury is still out as to whether they will become Joburg Ballet or Joburg City Ballet, but either way the name change comes as a condition of the ballet company’s latest and largest funder – the City of Johannesburg, which has just given them an R8-million injection.

The announcement was made at a press conference at the ballet company’s studios in Braamfontein on Friday last week, where the dancers heard the announcement for the first time along with the media and invited guests.

In a reversal of roles, it was the dancers giving a standing ovation to the man of the moment, Chris Vondo, a Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development, who was partly responsible for the allocation of the grant and was there to make the big announcement.

Cllr. Vondo was quoted as saying: “We recognize the large steps the ballet company has taken in recent years towards transformation as a performing arts company in South Africa and also its successful outreach programmes for the youngsters of our city.”

World-class opportunities

It is especially these youngsters that should be excited about the news. According to Dirk Badenhorst, the company’s CEO, this R8m funding gives them the much-needed sustainability allowing them to focus on providing world-class opportunities to local dancers.

Young children from Joburg are given opportunities to perform as part of SAMB's outreach programmes.

Young children from Joburg are given opportunities to perform as part of SAMB’s outreach programme.

“Children from the theatre’s Development Programme in Soweto, Alexandra, Olifantsfontein, Mamelodi, Melville and Braamfontein – as well as young people from across the City and environs – can now look forward with pride to joining the company”, says Badenhorst.

The company, which we’ll still call SAMB until the official name-switch, says it has already been invited to perform in Washington DC in April 2014 at celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of South African democracy. Other potential local and African tours were mentioned too.

Commenting on the funding, Kitty Phetla, one of SAMB’s home-grown ballerinas said “it makes me very proud to be part of the company.” She added, “we are one step closer to being a world-class ballet company in South Africa.”

Funding for one year and potentially more

The R8m funding is a one year grant, from July 2013 till June 2014. However, provided the company uses the money wisely and meets their scorecard goals, there is an indicative allocation for a three year period, signaling the city’s intention to support the company on a potentially ongoing basis.

To oversee the management of this grant, the second condition of the funding –  the name-change being the first condition to highlight and emphasize the partnership between the City of Joburg and the company – will see two representatives of Joburg City Theatres (the municipal entity now operating Joburg Theatre, Soweto Theatre and Roodepoort Theatre) being invited onto SAMB’s Board of Directors.

“I believe in the value of the arts to help us seek solutions to Africa’s problems” said Dirk Badenhorst, “and I am proud to be counted among the citizens of Joburg”.

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Category: Dance News

About the Author ()

Hi, I'm Robynn, and I'm a student of the potential of the body, the marvels of the mind, and the beauty of it all combined in ballet. As the editor, BodyMindBallet is where I get to learn, to share and to enjoy this wide world of dance - and with every day I gain an ever richer respect for the athleticism of dance and the skill of performance artistry.

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