You will be amazed at how the talented dancers of the Bovim Ballet translate the King of Rock ‘n Roll into ballet in Private Presley. The show is back in Cape Town for the fourth season since it was created in 2013.
I attended the opening at the Baxter Theatre in Rondebosch. Apart from being a devoted So You Think You Can Dance US fan, my knowledge of anything dance-related is somewhat limited. I was surprised however to learn that Private Presley is a local production from an award-winning South African choreographer. Sean Bovim founded the Bovim Ballet Company in 2009 and since then, they have performed all over the country and entertained thousands.
Private Presley is danced to over 30 Elvis tracks, portraying keys moments from Elvis’s life, in his rise to becoming the King of Rock ‘n Roll. It’s a highly entertaining journey, including when he was drafted into the US army as a regular private, his various love interests, his reaction to fame and more.
I would never have thought to pair Elvis Presley’s music with ballet, but after watching the show, the connection is ironically clear. Women typically danced to rock ‘n roll wearing sneakers or high heels. Although the dancers are all classically trained, the Bovim Ballet ladies had to learn how to twist, be-bop, bump and jive en pointe, as well as to Lindy Hop with a partner. The men impressed with vigorous choreography, gymnastics and power lifts.
The performers are not only athletic ballet dancers who put in hours of training every day; they are expressive artists with high performance quality and an ‘X factor’. Elvis’ friendships and relationships are wonderfully portrayed, and the chemistry between the couples on stage is real. My eyes were glued to the stage for the duration of the show, which is over two hours with an interval.
The highly talented and powerful dancer, Henk Opperman plays the role of Elvis, while the exquisite Kristin Wilson dances the role of Priscilla with flawless technique. They are joined by 21 other magnificent dancers.
The costumes are designed by some of South Africa’s top fashion designers. Whether wearing pointe shoes, blue suede shoes or roller skates, the dancers always look ready to boogie.
The set, props, and fantastic lighting took me on a trip down (my imaginary) memory lane to the drive-in, pool hall and disco.
Going to the Baxter is always a treat, and I felt rejuvenated and uplifted after the performance. This contemporary ballet is for anyone, regardless of one’s previous appreciation of ballet. I feel proud that this world-class production is homegrown, and I hope that the Bovim Ballet will tour internationally and show the world our diverse South African talent.
Have a look at our event post for more info.
Where Baxter Theatre, Main Road, Rondebosch
When Friday 13 November 2015 8 pm until Saturday 28 November (12 shows only)
Cost R150 – R285 at Computicket
Contact +27 21 685 7880
Photography courtesy Bill Zurich and Essie Esterhuizen