Betties give it their all in ‘Private Presley’ ballet
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.
EN POINTE: The corps de ballet salute the King in Private Presley.