Ballet Black On Film initiative

Published: 25 April 2020
Reporter: Vera Liber

José Alves and Cira Robinson in Ingoma Credit: Bill Cooper
Marie Astrid Mence in Ingoma Credit: Bill Cooper

For Ballet Black's #BBonFilm initiative, it will present some of its repertoire online and online classes taught by Ballet Black dancers.

The first performance, House of Dreams (15-minute—already online) by Michael Corder, is a quartet exploring themes of love and loss set to the music of Claude Debussy with costume designs from Ballet Black’s long-term collaborator Yukiko Tsukamoto

This will be followed by Captured (20-minute—available for 7 days from 26 April 2020), a four-hander by Martin Lawrence to Shostakovich's string quartet.

Completing the initial programme will be Ingoma (Song), a 35-minute ballet featuring the whole company (available for 7 days from 3 May) by company dancer and choreographer Mthuthuzeli November, which imagines the struggles of black South African miners and their families in 1946 when 60,000 of them took strike action and is inspired by Song of the Pick, a painting by South African artist Gerard Sekoto, and the poem Blue Head (2018) written specially for this ballet by Asisipho Ndlovu Malunga.

Cassa Pancho, Artistic Director, said, “like many of our dancing friends across the globe, we have been working to find ways to share our passion for ballet with our audience. We have created #BBonFilm to help us continue to connect with our followers and friends during this time, and, in the coming weeks, will be sharing some of our original repertoire, created especially for us by some very exciting choreographers.

“We will initially present three performances and will look at extending this in the coming weeks. Teaching is at the heart of what we do, so in addition to performances, we will be offering free online classes taught by members of the company, and will be re-opening our BB Junior School online. We would like to thank everyone involved for generously allowing us to share their work and everyone who has volunteered their time to make these classes possible.”

Ballet Black Classes include José Alves—Senior Artist—teaching an adult beginner ballet class via Instagram live at @originalballetblack (Sunday 26 April 2020, 12PM) and Marie Astrid Mence—Junior Artist—recording a video of a class (intermediate level) in French shared on the BB YouTube channel (date TBC).