Africa and Roman legend meet at Joseph Stone

A Spartacus of Africa, featuring the original music of Khachaturian, will be presented for one night only at the Joseph Stone Auditorium in Athlone, on Thursday November 10, at 8pm.

Choreographer Veronica Paeper has re-designed her original ballet that she created for Cape Performing Arts Board (CAPAB) Ballet in 1984, incorporating contemporary dance with classical ballet. This production by the SA National Dance Trust was made possible by a grant of
R949000 from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC).

In the title role of Amari, Casey Swales reprises the role he danced to great acclaim at the world premier season of A Spartacus of Africa, in 2015.

Also dancing the lead role, is Juan Carlos Osma, partnered by Dyana Acuna as Fayola. She shares this role with Capetonian Elzanne Crause.

Nadira will be danced by Kristin Wilson.

The role of Nagash, Amari’s nemesis, will be danced by Xola Willie and Milwhynne Williams who hail from the Eastern Cape.

Lwanele Masiza, also from the Eastern Cape, will take the part of Badu.

Alfonzo Freemantle dances the role of Isenyaya, the African Spirit.

South Africa’s most exciting and talented dancers from all around the country make up the cast of 20.

It’s long been Paeper’s ambition to reproduce this ballet – arguably her finest.

Drawn to the similarity between Rome’s treatment of their captives and the many down-trodden people in Africa, Paeper has given the ballet a mythical African slant, naming it, A Spartacus of Africa.

The story mirrors the original ballet about slaves fighting for freedom, Spartacus’s deep love for his wife Phrygia and Aegina’s guile helping her lover, Crassus, to quell the revolt. Innovative set designs capturing the spirit of Africa were created by KMH Architects, while ingenious costumes by the late Dicky Longhurst, an award-winning designer, allow the athleticism of the dancers to be vividly dramatised.

Part of the set was constructed by a group of Masiphumelele women plaiting thousands of recycled green plastic bags into vines.

City Varsity students filmed an educational documentary about bringing a ballet of this magnitude to the stage. The eight minute DVD illustrates the diverse disciplines involved and forms an inspiring introduction for previously disadvantaged pupils who will attend the final dress rehearsal at each theatre.

For the Joseph Auditorium performance, tickets range from R70 to R100.

Book at Computicket.