Rising US ballet star Michaela DePrince arrives in Johannesburg on Saturday, 7 July to dance in the South African premiere of the classical ballet, Le Corsaire, opening for a short season at the Joburg Theatre on Thursday, 19 July. Le Corsaire is the first production from the ballet company being established by the merger of The South African Ballet Theatre and Mzansi Productions.

One of the great 19th century ballet classics, Le Corsaire is a treasure of classical showpieces, an exotic tale of love set to a sparkling score and glowing with classical ballet at its most irresistible. SABT and Mzansi Productions receive funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, which has contributed to making this production possible.

Michaela DePrince dances one of the leading roles in Le Corsaire at the ballet’s South African premiere on Thursday, 19 July at 19:30. She is scheduled to dance further performances on Friday, 20 July at 19:30 and Sunday, 22 July at 15:00. Ahead of her arrival in the country, DePrince is rehearsing for Le Corsaire with distinguished South African-born, New York-based ballet teacher, Charla Genn.

Michaela DePrince was born in Sierra Leone 17 years ago where her parents were victims of the west African country’s civil war, leaving Michaela orphaned at the age of three. Further alienated from her community by a skin disorder, her future was bleak until two events changed her life. She found a tattered picture of a ballerina in a magazine and, young as she was and unknown as ballet was to her, she became obsessed with the idea of becoming the ballerina in the photograph.

When she was four, Michaela was adopted by an American family and taken to the US. She started ballet lessons and soon showed exceptional talent. Now, at 17, after winning prestigious accolades, she is about to join Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York, one of America’s best known ballet companies.

DePrince is also showcased in the full-length documentary film, First Position, which follows the lives of young dancers as they participate in Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest ballet competition. First Position will be screened for the public at the Joburg Theatre on Sunday, 22 July at 11:00. DePrince will attend the screening to talk about her participation in the film. The trailer may be viewed here.

Where: Joburg Theatre, Loveday Street, Braamfontein.
Bookings: 0861 670 670 or www.joburgtheatre.com.
Price: from R180.