January | February | March
It’s hard to believe that the end of term 1 is almost upon us and that January and February have just flown by. After a slightly shorter December break this year, we reopened on the 14th of January and our delightful new grade 1 dancers were eagerly waiting for their first ballet class in their first ever ballet shoes. 34 new students enrolled this year but it has since dropped to a more manageable 25!
Saturday 19th January: Our first week ended with a much-needed stretch and conditioning class for our senior students with Sam Snow. It was wonderful having Sam back at Zama for the day and we are grateful that she could once again share her time and knowledge with the students.
It was awesome meeting professional football player, NFL player Marquise Goodwin and his wife Morgan on Friday 11th February with James Fernie and Uthando SA. Marquise plays for the San Francisco 49ers and is a former Olympian (2012 Summer Olympics) who competed in the long jump in track and field. When James asked if he could bring them to visit, he told us that they’re humble and passionate about teaching children to dream big. This was most evident during their visit to ZAMA. Marquise and Morgan were amazing with the students. They spoke about working towards goals, never giving up on their dreams and putting in the necessary work. After much pleading (not from me) Marquise delighted all by taking his shirt off to show the dancers his muscles and tattoos. Thank you, James, and Uthando SA. That was a truly amazing experience!
We were soon dancing in the aisles when we took a small group of dancers to The Michael Jackson HIStory Show at Artscape on 27th January. Artscape offered us staff tickets and some of the boys (and Monica) were keen to go. We weren’t sure what to expect, but it turned out to be one of our favorite Zama evenings out.
Dantanio, who impersonates Michael Jackson entertained the sold-out opera house for over 2 hours and had the audience screaming for more. The crowd went wild and there was even a line of fans waiting to meet him after the show. Leanne and I were amazed at how many songs the students knew and how they enjoyed themselves, singing and dancing with their ballet teachers in the aisles.
The Dutch National Ballet (het National Ballet) is the official, and largest ballet company in the Netherlands. The company’s Artistic Director and resident choreographer is Ted Brandsen and it has been home to some of the world’s greatest choreographers (Hans van Manen and Rudi van Dantzig to mention my favorite two)!
It was therefore a pleasure to have the opportunity to perform for members of the Dutch National Ballet Foundation on Saturday 2nd March at Zama. The Dutch National Ballet Foundation is made up of the company’s patrons and management. In recent years they have visited world class dance institutions around the world, such as the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg and the National Ballet of Cuba. Our dancers gave the audience more than they bargained for judging by the moist eyes, rapturous applause and many compliments after the show. The visitors provided lunch drinks and snacks to all the dancers who participated, and we are delighted to have made this connection.
Left: Zama graduate Thimna Sitokisi taking warm up class. He performed the act 1 Swan Lake pas de trois solo by kind permission of the Cape Academy of Performing Arts
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We returned to Zama feeling refreshed after our first break of the year. Leanne and I spent a week in the Uk visiting the Royal Ballet School, Tamara Moubayed’s Southborough School of Dance (Russian Ballet Society) and seeing various performances by the Royal Ballet and the Northern Ballet. (see March/London 2019 newsletter)
Term 2 began on the 8th of April. A chance meeting in the local shopping mall with former Dance For All Student and Cape Academy of Performing Arts graduate, Lwando Dutyulwa, led to a series of wonderful classes at Zama on Saturday mornings during April and May. Lwando had just returned from a hugely successful European tour of Dada Masilo’s Giselle and will embark on a UK tour of the same production later this year. Our performance team have seen Lwando perform with CAPA and the Cape Dance Company over the years and were understandably overjoyed to have him teach at Zama.
Lwando Dutyulwa with Zama's performance team
Lwando stretching with Lukhanyo and Uyathandwa
More news is that Zama is competing in this year's Repertoire competition on the 14th July at Artscape
(staged by the Theatre Dance Association) We have selected two dancers to take part, 14-year-old Lukhanyo
and 12-year-old Hlumelo. They will both be competing in the junior section. Each has to perform a classical and a
contemporary solo which we have been working on for the past few weeks. Whilst I focus on the two classical solos,
Leanne is creating a new contemporary solo for Lukhanyo and Daniel Rajna is working on Saturday mornings with Hlumelo on
his new solo. Daniel is of course no stranger to us at Zama and choreographed Thimna’s solo La Mouche, which we all enjoyed
so much. It’s good to have him back in studios and we look forward to his new creation.
Daniel Rajna working with 12-year-old Hlumelo
12-year-old Hlumelo and 14-year-old Lukhanyo will both compete in this years Repertoire competition
During May I took 14-year-old Buntu to see our incredibly generous dentist in Table View, Dr Rabe. We'd been worried about Buntu's
overcrowded mouth for years and had hoped it would miraculously sort it's self out. This was not to be and so we felt it was
time to help him out.
Dr Rabe extracted 2 teeth and sent us to see her colleague Dr Coetsee, who is not only a brilliant orthodontist,
but also very supportive of our student’s needs. He recently took care of all Thimna Sitokisi's orthodontic treatments, at no cost.
Buntu needs another 2 teeth extracted before Dr Coetsee can start working his magic with the help of braces.
During the last week of May we invited the parents of our students to watch class. Thinking only one or two would come, we bought biscuits to serve them with a nice cup of tea. We were very happy to see quite a large turnout, but poor Nomtha and Vuyo ended up making over 20 cups of tea and coffee throughout the afternoon. The biscuits were a big hit.
Buntu waiting patiently at Dr Coetsee's for his x-rays
Happy to see so many Grade 1 parents watch class during the last week of May
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I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Dance Partners and Sponsors.
Mr. R Ackerman and The Raymond Ackerman Foundation: Mrs. Wendy Ackerman
James Fernie: The Hooijmaaijer family: Sandy Geffen: Lawrence Benatar
Dr Marius Coetsee: Dr Rihanna Rabe
The Russian Ballet Society: Miss Tamara Moubayed
See also Our Donors page.
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