JYB-40-Year-Logo-Sep2016The Johannesburg Youth Ballet is turning 40 and is reaching out to all JYB alumni to share in this milestone celebration!

Since 1976 well over 1 800 young dancers from the greater Johannesburg area have been members of the Johannesburg Youth Ballet or the JYB, as it is fondly known. It is only appropriate that all who have had an association with this pioneering youth company help to celebrate its 40th Birthday.

The management appeals to all past members to make contact with the JYB by emailing your contacts to Brenda Sakellarides on devar@iafrica.com or connecting on the JYB Alumni FB page where memories and photos can also be uploaded and shared.

The 2016 season, A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Other Ballets, will take place in The Mandela, Joburg Theatre from the 14 – 16 October. It is hoped that the JYB alumni will support the gala opening in unprecedented numbers.

With funding from the National Arts Council, the JYB has secured the services of dance writers Adrienne Sichel and Tammy Ballantyne to archive the story of The Johannesburg Youth Ballet.

The company was established by the visionary Audrey King who, in 1976, defiant in the face of apartheid laws and draconian political restrictions, resolved to take a racially integrated group of young Johannesburg dancers to participate, by invitation, in The International Festival of Youth and Performing Arts in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1977.

The Johannesburg Youth Ballet is a story of vision, purpose, dedication and perseverance, which deserves to be told. It is hoped that the archival publication will be published in late 2017 to mark the end of the 40th anniversary year.

Dali Beck-Roberts in Taiwan – JYB Tour 1979

The management has gathered old programmes, newspaper clips, old photographs and videos to ensure that the story is safely told. There are also the inevitable gaps that they would like to fill. These are the years that are not reflected in the scrapbook and for which they are struggling to find programmes.


JYB Kim Segal

It is hoped that members from the founding years (1976 – 1985) in particular will come forward to share these memories. The JYB archive is ready to be the secure new home to the old photographs, the signed programmes, posters, videos, recordings, cards and all other memorabilia belonging to its alumni. These items hold the history and the reflection of South Africa’s oldest youth company.

Former JYB members are requested to make contact as soon as possible, preferably before end September, to ensure that as many alumni as possible are at the Gala opening on October 14.

True to its origins and proven track record the JYB’s primary focus remains to nurture and train young dancers from all socio-economic backgrounds in the art of theatre dance and to foster an enduring love and appreciation of classical ballet and South African contemporary dance.

JYB Alumni (1976-2016): Visit and Join the JYB Alumni Group on Facebook

The Johannesburg Youth Ballet is a proud and grateful recipient of National Arts Council Company funding and extends warm thanks and acknowledgement to the NAC, as well as its media partner, Creative Feel magazine.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Other Ballets runs from 14 to 16 October at the Mandela, Joburg Theatre.

Performance times: Friday 14 October – Gala Opening at 19h30; Saturday 15 October and Sunday 16 October at 11h00 and 15h00.

Tickets: R100 – R120 – for tickets call 0861 670 670 or visit www.joburgtheatre.com (block bookings are available) or at the Joburg Theatre box office OR online at www.webtickets.co.za / patrons can also book and pay via the Nedbank app and at selected Pick n Pay stores (full list at www.webtickets.co.za/pnpoutlets.aspx)

For further information please visit www.jyb.co.za or email devar@iafrica.com


Notes to the Editor

The Johannesburg Youth Ballet was founded in 1976 by Audrey King, a Cecchetti teacher and examiner, in response to an invitation to perform at the Aberdeen International Festival of Youth and Performing Arts. Flouting the political laws of the time King selected a group of racially integrated dancers to perform at this annual festival. In what was a watershed year for the black youth of South Africa, this group of young dancers was one of the first racially integrated youth groups to represent South Africa abroad.

The newly formed company performed in Israel en route to Aberdeen and also performed in London. The JYB went on to tour internationally; in 1979 the company toured to Rome and Israel and in 1981 they visited the Republic of China. Local performances were held at many of the major centres around the country and at the Grahamstown Festival. In 2013 the JYB’s critically acclaimed Hansel & Gretel featured on the Main Programme of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, followed by a debut season at The Playhouse Drama Theatre in Durban.

In 1984 when King relocated to America, a founder company dancer, Pat Durham, took up the reins. She was followed by Theo Dantes (ably assisted by Erick Bowen), Jean Beckley, Rulov Senekal, Kate Martin and Mark Hawkins.

This small but enduring dance company broke down political barriers and forged a path that led to many dancers of all races realising their dreams and ambitions. It has been an important stepping-stone in the careers of many of South Africa’s classical and contemporary dancers, bridging the gap between the classroom training and the demands of professional performance. Many former JYB dancers have joined professional ballet and dance companies and have become locally and internationally renowned. Some of these, among many, are Angela Malan, Ann Wixley, Catherine Burnett, Iain Macdonald Kimbrian Bergh, Leigh-Ann Cohen, Mandy Brak, Marcel van Drunick, Melody Putu, Moya Michael, Nadine Sacker, Shanell Winlock, Shannon Glover, Tanya Futter and Yarisha Singh. All spent nurturing years with the JYB and readily acknowledge the important part it played in their development.

Over the years, a number of JYB alumni have given generously of their time and experience, returning as guest performers, guest choreographers and repetiteurs, giving the young dancers invaluable artistic support. Leading South African choreographers have included Adele Blank, Debbi Rakusin, Mandla Mcunu, Mark Hawkins, the late Jackie Semela and Timothy le Roux.

Now, under the visionary leadership of JYB chairman Jean Beckley and artistic director Mark Hawkins, the company continues to nurture young dancers from across Johannesburg. Their goal is to give dancers from all socio-economic backgrounds an opportunity to work and perform in a professionally run ballet and dance company. The JYB upholds the principles of discipline, commitment and perseverance.

Dianne Richards and Nigel Hannah serve as JYB’s artistic consultants.

2016 Season:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Mark Hawkins
Garlands – (from Sleeping Beauty /music Tchaikovsky) re-invented by Kate Retief
LOOK UP – Shanell Winlock-Pailman and Nicholas Aphane

The cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Featured Actors: Hlengiwe Lushaba Madlala, Marc Kay and Mongi Mthombeni
Guest Artists from The Joburg Ballet – Titania: Alice Le Roux & Krystn Janicek & Oberon: Mahlatse Sachane & Ruan Da Silva
JYB Members: Puck: Fanelo Ndweni & Keelan Krinsky / Lovers:
Hermia: Corinne Lalouette & Megan Musiker / Helena: Robyn Jordaan & Samantha Bhoola
Lysander: Armand van der Merwe & Fanelo Ndweni / Demetrius: Mahlatse Sachane & Armand van der Merwe

The 2016 JYB Company:

Juniors: Jaden Clidaras, Bianca Gregory, Rachel Hertz, Danica Human, Lesedi Khanyile, Tebello Manyaka, Carina Ortlepp, Tamlyn Preston, Mia Silberman, Shayna Slom, Genevieve Stride.
Seniors: Marlize Badenhorst, Samantha Bhoola, Leela-Lind Devar, Negan Ferreira, Rebekah Gordon, Robyn Jordaan, Boipelo Keikelame, Gryphon Krinsky, Jezri Krinsky, Keelan Krinsky, Corinne Lalouette, Daniella Meunier, Jessica Mullins, Megan Musiker, Levashin Naidoo, Maxine Naude, Lisa Ncube, Fanelo Ndweni, Amani Pillay, Mahlatse Sachane, Meghann Thiselton, Amy Tod, Nicola-Marie Van der Linden, Armand Van der Merwe, Courtney Wilkinson.

Releases issued on behalf of JYB by Behind the Scenes Communications.

Please direct all media queries, requests for interviews, images/biographies and accreditation to: Di Sparks – 011 640 1500 / 073 208 8483 / disparks@artslink.co.za