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Ballet Gala to honour late dancer and human rights activist Kirvan Fortuin

The 7th South African Ballet International Ballet Competition (SAIBC) that kicked off online on Monday 13 July, will close on Saturday 18 July at 19:00 with a spectacular virtual gala performance that will pay tribute to the incredible dancer, creative and LGBTQI+ activist Kirvan Fortuin who was tragically murdered last month in Cape Town.

In addition to a stellar line-up of guest artists from South Africa and around the world, Capetonians Celeste Botha and Marlin Zoutman will perform a moving interpretive dance piece entitled Ouma Katrina: Die Dansende Taal (Grandma Katrina: the Dancing Language). Ouma Katrina was originally created by Fortuin in collaboration with Coenie de Villiers for the Suidoostefees Concert of Hope that is presented annually by Artscape. ‘I cannot think of a more fitting tribute for Kirvan Fortuin than through the medium of dance, the very art form through which he expressed his identity,’ said Artscape CEO Marlene le Roux who commissioned Kirvan and Coenie to create Ouma Katrina. ‘Kirvan was a role model for so many young people around him, all of whom identified with him in one way or another. He has left an immeasurable void and yet, a great legacy that will live on,’  Le Roux concluded. Dancer Marlin Zoutman added that Kirvan had an unfailing dedication, commitment and great love for the arts and was always pushing boundaries and fighting for the rights of artists.

     The performer line-up for the virtual gala on 18 July is outstanding and will showcase several SAIBC alumni, such as Joshua Williams from Cape Town who won a scholarship to the Zürich Dance Academy in 2018, and Antonio Casalinho from Portugal, who won gold in 2018. Other past entrants who have created pieces especially for the finale show include Juan Carlos Her’nandez Osma and Dayana Hardy from Cuba who are now with the West Australian Ballet, 2018 double gold medallist Leroy Mokgatle from South Africa (now based in Europe), duo Elza Leimane and Annija Kopstale from Latvia, and Aaron Smyth from Australia. A much-anticipated highlight will be a riveting contemporary pas de deux by a couple from the National Ballet of China, choreographed by Fei Bo, that was performed at the 2014 SAIBC at Artscape in Cape Town that had the packed opera house auditorium on its feet at the curtain call.
    The outstanding jury panel will adjudicate three categories during the competition – scholars (age 12-15),  juniors (age 16-20), and seniors (age 21–28). The prizes – bursaries, scholarships and ballet intensives – will be awarded during the gala. Aside from the competition being presented through an app – hailed as a global first – the SAIBC will also host a series of free daily panel discussions live-streamed to the SAIBC Facebook page, attended and facilitated by members of the jury and some of the ballet world’s most prolific experts, artistic directors of companies and schools, and heads of outreach and development projects across Africa. This is the first time an international ballet competition has been a conduit for crucial conversations around ballet in Africa and the world, dance companies and schools criteria, employment, ballet as PTSD therapy, training during Lockdown and gender equality.

The virtual gala and week-long competition and events can be accessed through the ArtOfLife app via the Google Play Store: iOS users can access the SAIBC via 

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