THE YEAR, SO far, has been fraught with broken dreams and unfair realities. We’ve lost people we’ve loved. And jobs we’ve relied on. And when you look at people going about their daily lives, they seem to be going through the motions, rather than injecting possibility into whatever might happen next. But then along comes the Johannesburg Youth Ballet’s season of The Selfish Giant, and for a charming and glittering 40 minutes or so, you forget everything, and allow your heart to melt, alongside that of the Giant himself (Jan Venter).
This completely delightful ballet, beautifully shaped into choreographic life, with David Butler at the helm as the narrator, to the sounds of Alexander Glazunov’s Four Seasons, will remind you that there is still hope. When you see Ashley Magutshwa leaping through the air to conjure up the bitter cold of the north wind, or Kgotlelelo Sekiti embodying hail, you realise that the disappointment you might be confronting is but a fleeting moment, and the next generation of young performers is out there, believing in magic, as they must.
Featuring a set that makes you smile from the moment you step into the theatre, it’s about hand drawn flowers that wilt in an environment of anger and sadness, and blossom with possibility where there is kindness and love. And a gorgeous little boy (Faiz Dalman), who represents the cornerstone of compassion.
It’s a gentle and unexpected gem that will force you to cast aside all manner of cynicism, even for just 40 minutes. But the season is brief, and the performative presence of this young cast, tender, so you need to make rapid plans to imbibe this tender tonic.
- The Selfish Giant was written by Oscar Wilde and choreographed by Mark Hawkins, Mary-Ann Mottram and Jan Venter. Performed by David Butler and Jan Venter, it features a youth cast comprising Sinjin Addinall, Marilize Badenhorst, Fortune Benard, Faahkir Bestman, Ivy Chepkwony, Faiz Dalman, Leela-Lind Devar, Hannah Dludla, Aimèe Gillespie, Robyn Jordaan, Ashley Magutshwa, Annette Mali, Tebello Manyaka, Jeniffer Mapoma, Maita Mazhandu, Nosipho Ndlovu, Zoe Peters, Taylor Pieterson, Gabriel Poulsen, Sinèad Rebelo, Matlhatse Sekele, Kgotlelelo Sekiti, Faith van Greunen and Amy Wilkins. It featured design by Alexander Glazunov (music), Wilhelm Disbergen (set), Nicholas Michaletos (lighting) and Jan Venter (costumes) and performs at The Fringe, Joburg Theatre complex in Braamfontein until August 26.