At just 16 years old, Leroy Mokgatle is lighting up the stage with his deft dance moves and is poised to win yet another international award
hard because there is always someone better.
“For example, during dance classes most kids get bored after about an hour. Not Leroy. His classes are up to two and a half hours long, and he never stops practising.”
His grandmother told journalists that Mokgatle started to dance when he was five and that he takes after his mother, a nurse, who had been a jiver of note.
She was unable to attend the competition in Cape Town this week, but said Facebook was abuzz with friends and family celebrating his victory.
On Friday night, Mokgatle was joined in the semifinals by Faakhir Bestman (11) from Hanover Park on the Cape Flats. He is also being raised by his grandmother – Ayesha Bestman. He trains with the Eoan Group Theatre Company and was recently awarded a scholarship to attend a two-week ballet course in New York City.
He first danced when he was only two years old. “I was standing in front of a lady’s gate in my street in Hanover Park ... She asked me whether I would like to dance. So we danced in her yard. I loved it so much. Obviously I can’t remember this, but my granny told me.”
Bestman glowed when asked about his upcoming trip to the US. “I am feeling so happy and excited. I really just need to go for it, you know.”
The SA International Ballet Competition’s gala will be held at Artscape at 3pm today
Mokgatle can be seen in action in a show called Young Korean Ballet Stars at the Brooklyn Theatre in Pretoria on March 1 and 2, and at the Legend Golf and Safari Lodge near Sterkrivier, in Limpopo, in Ballet in the Bush on March 4 and 5
PAS DE DEUX Dancers practise their routine for the fifth SA International Ballet Competition, which ends today with a gala event
TAKING A BREAK A ballerina relaxes backstage at Cape Town’s Artscape theatre. She is one of 71 dancers entering the ballet championship
FANCY FOOTWORK Rising star Leroy, on stage with dancers from all over the world, perfects his moves in preparation for the competition