Bet­ties give it their all in ‘Pri­vate Pres­ley’ bal­let

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

CLAS­SI­CAL bal­lets are beau­ti­ful, but they can be rather old-fash­ioned and un­less you’re fa­mil­iar with the sto­ries you usu­ally need a pro­gramme which ex­ten­sively de­tails the plot.

For some­thing fun and ac­ces­si­ble, colour­ful and en­ter­tain­ing, while still de­liv­er­ing ev­ery­thing you ex­pect of bal­let, there is Sean Bovim’s Pri­vate Pres­ley – A Salute To The King, at The Bax­ter un­til next Satur­day.

That this is the fourth sea­son of this par­tic­u­lar bal­let is tes­ta­ment to its pop­u­lar­ity.

It uses 36 Elvis songs to tell the story of the king of rock ’n’ roll, from his movie ca­reer to his stint in the army, as well as his per­sonal life and mar­riage – and sub­se­quent di­vorce – from Priscilla.

The ro­man­tic bal­lads like Are You Lone­some Tonight and Love Me Ten­der are mixed in with up­beat num­bers like Jail­house Rock and GI Blues and a few med­leys thrown in for good mea­sure.

There are prin­ci­pal dancers in the roles of Elvis and some of the many women in his life – Priscilla, Natalie Wood, Juliet Prowse and Ann-Mar­gret – who are well sup­ported by a great corps de bal­let.

Of the men, JV Mattei par­tic­u­larly im­presses with his roller-skat­ing and gym­nas­tics, bring­ing even more fun to the pro­duc­tion.

For me it’s not bal­let un­less the women – known as Bet­ties in the bal­let world – are on their toes.

And in this case, they do not dis­ap­point.

Their cos­tumes are jewel-bright and their match­ing pointe shoes are gor­geous.

Yes, I can feel the se­ri­ous bal­let peo­ple rolling their eyes, but I do love a good en pointe and this vis­ual as­pect is just as im­por­tant as the danc­ing.

Bovim Bal­let worked with Craig Port (guest judge on America’s Next Top Model with Tyra Banks and Africa’s Next Top Model with Oluchi) who de­signed the men’s cos­tumes (thank­fully no tights which make you not know where to look), and KLûK CGDT (African Fash­ion De­sign­ers of the year 2011 and 2012) are re­spon­si­ble for the women’s cos­tumes.

Said Bovim: “Pri­vate Pres­ley is a rock ’n’ roll bal­let that jug­gles full­speed fun and en­er­getic group dance num­bers with in­ti­mate and heartwrench­ing love duets.

“Not only did this era bring out the most ex­plo­sive dance styles of the 20th cen­tury, but also gave us Pres­ley’s in­spi­ra­tional and in­tu­itive bal­lads which pull at the heart strings of all who loved the enig­matic Elvis and his pi­o­neer­ing mu­sic.”

● Pri­vate Pres­ley is at The Bax­ter The­atre in Ron­de­bosch un­til next Satur­day. Per­for­mances are Thurs­days to Satur­days at 8pm, and Sun­days at 3pm, and a fur­ther mati­nee next Satur­day at 3pm. Tick­ets are from R150-R285 through Com­puticket. There is a 10 per­cent dis­count for pen­sion­ers.

For more in­for­ma­tion see www.bovim­bal­let.com.

PIC­TURE: SUP­PLIED

EN POINTE: The corps de bal­let salute the King in Pri­vate Pres­ley.

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