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39th Port Elizabeth Dance Festival set for the end of August

Aug 16, 2019
39th Port Elizabeth Dance Festival set for the end of August

Port Elizabeth - Since its establishment 39 years ago, the Port Elizabeth Dance Festival has become an annual highlight event, eagerly anticipated by hundreds of dancers and lovers of dance.

The PEDF has also served as a vital foundation stone for dancers who have gone on to achieve global career success.

One such dancer is Warren Adams on whom has recently been bestowed the extraordinary honour of appointment to the prestigious Tony Awards Nominating Committee.

Warren Adams left the Toynbee Club Ballet School in Gelvandale, Port Elizabeth, 25 years ago on a dance scholarship to England, and ended up performing in and choreographing productions across the globe.

Warren, who is now is an award-winning Producer, Director, Choreographer and an Adjunct Professor at PRINCETON UNIVERSITY and NYU in the Theatre Department, has fond memories of the Port Elizabeth Dance Festival.

“My first PE Dance Festival was in 1984, and I remember it vividly.

“It was the beginning of a journey that has taken me all over the world and opened more doors for me than I could ever have imagined.

His advice for aspiring dancers: “Thank your teachers, hug them, and tell them how much you appreciate their dedication to you. Gwen-Mary Wells, Fiona Rodel and Lesley Albrecht were all instrumental in laying the groundwork for my career, and I am eternally grateful to them.”

Warren Adams has recently been appointed to the prestigious Tony Awards Nominating Committee.

This year’s Festival will kick off on Tuesday, 27 August, with an impressive selection of seventeen dance studios showcasing 837 dance entries from over 400 talented dancers from Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Grahamstown, Graaff-Reinet, Cradock, Knysna and George.

Dancers aged from 4 to 42 years will entertain audiences with modern, freestyle, ballet, tap, hip hop, cheer squad and Indian dance performances.

Participating dance studios include: Candice Johnstone Dance Academy, Amaphiko Township Dance Project, Charismatic Dance Crew, Geetanjali Academy of Arts, Carmen’s School of Dance, Channae Erens School of Ballet, Marlene Rubidge Ballet School, Prestige School of Dance, Toynbee Ballet Academy, SA Dance Academy, Defying Gravity, Chinelle School of Dancing, Renee Ferreira, NMU Cheerleaders, Natasha Tait Dance Studio, Leanka Laubscher School of Dance and Diana Townsend School of Ballet.

The Port Elizabeth Dance Festival, was founded by Jennifer Abrahams and Hermione Ballinger in 1981 to promote the love of dance.

Nici Lovemore, daughter of the late Hermione Ballinger, who is continuing her mother’s legacy as Chairperson of PEDF, is passionate about dance and is looking forward to the action-packed five-day dance festival.

“I am thrilled that so many Eastern Cape Dance Studios have given their dancers the opportunity to compete and enjoy this fun experience, and in festival tradition, all participating dancers will receive a stylish recognition medal.

“We will continue to create a professional platform for dancers of all ages to gain and enjoy stage experience”, said Nici.

The Port Elizabeth Dance Festival will be held at the Savoy Theatre, Parsons Hill, over five days, from Tuesday 27 August to Saturday, 31 August 2019.

A huge coup this year is the confirmation that Nigel Lucas will adjudicate the 2019 PE Dance Festival.

Nigel Lucas has a wealth of experience of many dance genres and is at the forefront of dance development in SA. He was trained in Ballet, Spanish and National at UCT Ballet School. On completing his Diploma at UCT, as a sought-after dancer Nigel danced first nationally and then joined the cruise industry which provided him the privilege of travelling the world and dancing in countless productions for 13 years. 

On retiring in 2009, Nigel returned home to open a vibrant Ballet and Modern Dance Studio in his home town of Somerset West. Nigel is highly valued as a knowledgeable and constructive adjudicator.

As well as the many regular trophies and awards, an exciting new incentive for aspiring dancers this year is the introduction of the ‘Ballinger Bursary’ in memory of Hermione Ballinger. The Adjudicator will choose two outstanding dancers, one junior and one senior, to receive this bursary to be used towards developing the recipients’ dancing in whichever manner they choose, attending a national workshop or competition, or for essentials such as good ballet shoes and lessons.

And for the second year, the Theatre Dance Association’s ‘Fabulous’ trophies will be awarded to the junior and senior who just brings that special something to their performance, irrespective of whether they are a top-mark achiever or not.

The Festival will culminate in a glitzy gala celebration of dance, and awards ceremony, compered by Niqui Cloete-Barrass on Saturday, 31 August, 2019.

The PE Festival starts daily at 14.30, and entry is R30. Contact Carol-Anne Cash for festival seats on 084 502 3300, or purchase at the Savoy Theatre entrance.

The Gala event will start at 18.30, entry is R90 for adults and R60 for scholars and pensioners.

Visit Port Elizabeth Dance Festival – PEDF facebook page for more festival information and photographs.

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