JOBURG BALLET SCHOOL: SATELLITE SCHOOLS
Joburg Ballet currently has three satellite Schools in operation. Alexandra, Soweto and Braamfontein/ Hillbrow.
BACKGROUND DEVELOPMENT SCHOOL
Originally established by South African Ballet Theatre in 2001, the Satellite schools provide a safe and structured environment for children to grow socially, as well as to introduce them to the joy and benefits of classical ballet while exposing them a potential career in the performing arts. Another primary focus is to teach children from previously disadvantaged backgrounds valuable etiquette and leadership skills through the art of dance, as well as exposure to role models. Once in the programme, children are instilled with a feeling of pride and self-worth through artistic performances. JB aims to give these children a solid classical ballet training should they wish to pursue a career in professional dance, as well as to offer them exposure to other careers in the sector such as lighting design, arts management, costume design.
Personal interest in individual children’s circumstances enable JB teachers to understand each child’s specific requirement, and to assist these often vulnerable children in becoming socially responsible and culturally sensitive individuals.
There are approximately 250 children in the programme receiving lessons in Alexandra, Soweto and Braamfontein / Hillbrow. Children are aged 6 to sixteen 16 years old and are selected on audition, between the ages of 6 and 10 years. Particularly talented children are offered the opportunity to audition for the Joburg Ballet School’s Accelerated programme. Suitably advanced dancers are encouraged to try out for the JB Aspirant Programme once they leave the Joburg ballet Schools..
Classes are offered at a nominal, voluntary cost to parents, while teachers are paid a salary. Select children a may have the opportunity of participating n professional productions such as The Nutcracker, Carmen, Coppélia, Sleeping Beauty and many more. Others are invited to watch performances.
A select group of children also receive sponsorship to attend Joburg Ballet’s annual Holiday Club where they are afforded the opportunity to socialise with children from other studios. When funding allows, the Satellite School teachers enroll children in annual examinations giving them a formal Cecchetti Society or Royal Academy qualification. Since 2012, 8 children from the Satellite Schools have successfully auditioned to study at the National School of the Arts while others have joined the Johannesburg Youth Ballet.
In 2015, the first dancer( Mahlatse Sachane, from the Alexandra programme) auditioned for, and was accepted into the Joburg Ballet Aspirant programme.
The Annual Showcase for parents and Sponsors is the highlight of the year.
JB / Air Products Satellite School-Alexandra
The school in Alexandra was founded in 2001 at the San Kopano Centre by Victor Mohapi and SABT. Parents and school principals in areas such as Araganeng and Amukelani were approached to join the programme. Air Products South Africa (Pty) Ltd took naming rights to the Alexandra programme in 2010 by providing significant financial support. There are currently 120 children attending classes twice to four times a week, depending upon which course or level they have been accepted for. Please visit http://airproductsafrica.co.za/ballet/
JB Satellite School-Soweto
After the closure of the studio at Rena le Lona, SABT partnered with the City of Johannesburg in 2009 to open a studio at Uncle Tom’s in Soweto. There are currently seventy children enrolled at the Soweto studio, attending classes twice to four times a week, depending upon which course or level they have been accepted for. Children perform in events such as the Helen Joseph Pink Ribbon day.
JB Satellit School-Braamfontein
JB opened its newest studio in 2011 to cater for children living in the inner city. The National School of the Arts has generously made their premises available to the Development School on Mondays and Thursdays. As well as this, classes are hosted at the Hillbrow theatre in their modern and airy dance studio. Children also have the advantage of being invited to participate in Hillbrow theatre events, such as Hey Hillbrow! Let’s Dladla and Youth Day events. There are currently sixty children enrolled at the Soweto studio, attending classes twice to four times a week, depending upon which course or level they have been accepted for.