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French stars jet in for Joburg Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty

International guest artists Anaïs Chalendard and Florimond Lorieux will dance the leading roles in three performances of Joburg Ballet’s new staging of The Sleeping Beauty at Joburg Theatre during the upcoming season, running from Friday 29 March to Sunday 7 April. The 10-performance run is made possible by a grant of over R1 460 000 from the National Lotteries Commission.*

Joburg Ballet Sleeping Beauty Florimond Lorieux
Florimond Lorieux as the Bronze Idol in La Bayadere PHOTO Sébastien Mathé

As the princess who falls into a deep sleep for a hundred years and the prince who awakens her with a kiss, Chalendard and Lorieux will dance on Opening Night, Friday 29 March at 19:30, followed by Sunday 31 March at 15:00 and Tuesday 2 April at 11:00. All three performances will be accompanied by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
     “We’re delighted to have secured two such exceptional guest artists for our new staging of this great romantic classic,” said Joburg Ballet CEO Esther Nasser. “Dance lovers also have a brilliant opportunity to see them perform at very affordable prices; as with all Joburg Ballet Opening Night performances, all tickets for 29 March are half price, and every seat for the 11:00 performance on 2 April is only R100 throughout Joburg Theatre. Both Anaïs and Florimond are making their South African debuts with us and we hope to welcome them to South Africa with packed houses.”
    Principal casting for the remaining seven performances, starring Joburg Ballet’s own leading dancers, will be announced after producer Maina Gielgud arrives later this month to stage The Sleeping Beauty, her first production for the company. Following a glittering international career as dancer and artistic director, Gielgud is now a renowned producer, teacher and coach worldwide.
     Born in France, principal dancer Anaïs Chalendard started her professional career in Dusseldorf, followed by engagements with major European ballet companies, including English National Ballet, before joining Boston Ballet in the US in 2013.

Joburg Ballet Sleeping Beauty Anais Chalendard
Anais Chalendard as Odette in Swan Lake PHOTO Alice Pennefather

     In demand as an international guest artist, she has worked with ballet luminaries such as Vladimir Malakov, Birgit Keil, Wayne Eagling, Maina Gielgud and Carlos Acosta and has built a repertoire that includes productions by Kenneth MacMillan, Erik Bruhn, Derek Deane, John Cranko and George Balanchine, in addition to the great classical ballets.
     Soloist Florimond Lorieux trained at the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet School and in 2005 joined the Paris Opera Ballet, one of the world’s most celebrated companies. In 2016 he took a two-year break to perform with Boston Ballet, returning to the Paris Opera Ballet in 2018.
     Lorieux’s repertoire includes roles in productions by Jerome Robbins, John Cranko, Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine and Rudolf Nureyev. He also pursues an active ballet teaching schedule and in 2018 choreographed his first work for Boston Ballet.
     The Sleeping Beauty opens at Joburg Theatre on Friday 29 March for ten performances, ending on Sunday 7 April. The JPO will play for all performances except Wednesday 3 April at 11:00, which will be to a recorded score to facilitate filming of The Sleeping Beauty for release on DVD by Friends of the Ballet. Booking is now open via Joburg Theatre box office on 0861 670 670 and online at
     Keep up to date with the company;,, Twitter @JoburgBallet #SleepingBeauty or online at

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