Teen ballet dancer does a jeté to the top

Thirteen-year-old Hanover Park dancing sensation Faakhir Bestman, who won gold in the Scholar Contemporary Boys category at the fifth South African International Ballet Competition last year where he competed against entrants from Cuba, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, America, Latvia and Azerbaijan, can be seen this weekend in the Eoan Group Theatre Company’s production Repeat. Repeat. Rewind.

The production, to be staged at the Joseph Stone Auditorium from Friday to Sunday May 5 to 7, is a collage of new and vintage works against a backdrop of steel, brick and staircases and has been billed as a must-see for contemporary dance enthusiasts.

Faakhir, a Grade 7 pupil at Blomvlei Primary School, says dancing is his way of expressing himself. He has been dancing for the Eoan Group School of Performing Arts for the past four years

The teen started dancing as a way of making his 9-year-old sister Akeeda, happy. Akeeda has cerebal palsy.

“Every time I dance, my sister smiles, and that is why I decided to take my dancing further – she inspires me,” says Faakhir.

Faakhir attended the American Academy of Ballet summer school in July last year after earning his spot at the South African International Ballet Competition at Artscape in February last year.

“My dancing has improved, but not as much as I want to; I still want to be at the top and be able to achieve my dream of dancing for Queen Elizabeth,” he says.

In 2015, he received an award at the Royal Ballet School’s summer programme in England, and, in 2016, he received a distinction for his intermediate exam at the Royal Academy of Dance Western Cape regional Bursary Award.

“Growing up in Hanover Park is very hard with all the violence and gangsterism going on, but being at the Eoan Group makes me happy and keeps me away from everything. Hanover Park is not a bad place, it’s just certain people who make it look bad. If there is anything I would change, I would definitely make it a safer place where people can dream and achieve those dreams,” says Faakhir.

He told the Athlone News he wants to make dancing his career backed by a fashion design qualification.

Besides dancing, Faakhir loves making clothes and would like to study fashion design at a later stage.

His dance teacher, Abeedah Medell, says Faakhir’s attitude and commitment to dance at his age is admirable. “He has a dream and talent that could see him rise above his circumstances and his family at home,”says Ms Medell.

Faakhir has entered the Ballet Repertoire Competition that will take place in June at the Artscape Theatre. The Theatre Dance Association was approached by Cape Town Ballet teachers to host a Ballet Repertoire Competition that would tie in with Cape Town City Ballet’s annual mid-year season at the Artscape and Dancers for Dancers.

Repeat. Repeat. Rewind. opens with a gala performance on Friday May 5, at 8pm, with tickets selling for R120. The production starts at 8pm on the Saturday and 6pm on the Sunday. Tickets for both shows are R100.