Footloose for new PE dance festival

Luhle Jakavula and Sarah Hagedorn-Hansen limber up for the Friendly City Dance Festival that kicks off at Port Elizabeth’s Savoy Theatre next month
Luhle Jakavula and Sarah Hagedorn-Hansen limber up for the Friendly City Dance Festival that kicks off at Port Elizabeth’s Savoy Theatre next month
Image: Brad Peens

A new dance festival in the city kicks off with a pre-festival fundraiser next month at the Savoy Theatre offering both dancers and non-dancers a day of fun physical and cultural activities.

The Friendly City Dance Festival’s (FCDF) A Touch of Dance will start at 9am on June 16 and include:

  • Core strength and stretch class by Debbie Ralph of the Debbie Ralph Ballet School;
  • Dance Fit class by Anneke van der Smit of the Ballet Studio;
  • Ballet master class with former South African Ballet Company ballerina Nooreen Lagardien;
  • Art workshop for children aged five to 12 by budding artist and dance teacher Kareen Breytenbach;
  • Matinee and evening performances, where participating dance studios will present a showcase of junior and senior items.

FCDF manager Monica Hewitson said A Touch of Dance would promote the new festival to be held at the PE Opera House from Monday to Saturday, August 20 to 25.

It does not replace the existing Port Elizabeth Dance Festival, which still is scheduled to run its programme in August.

“It’s wonderful that PE’s dance world is flourishing and can boast and support two dance festivals,” Hewitson said.

She said the FCDF was aimed at fostering a love of dance performance for students and audiences and would be a space to recognise the students’ achievements.

Studios from Grahamstown, Jeffrey’s Bay and George had expressed an interest, said Hewitson, and any dance teacher may enter provided he or she is a registered dance teacher.

“It will give them the chance to perform and compete on stage in friendly competition and have their dance ability adjudicated in a constructive manner by professionals in the dance field,” Hewitson said.

The FCDF will incorporate all the aspects of other national dance festivals, and cater for junior, senior and adult dancers from disciplines such as ballet, contemporary, tap, hip-hop, Irish, Spanish and rhythmic dance.

A new Show Dance category for musical theatre performers will also be introduced. Professional adjudicators will judge the FCDF participants and give gold, silver or bronze medals.

High-scoring dancers will go through to a “dance off” to earn the title of champion in both the junior and senior sections of the festival.

The festival will culminate in a gala concert where “adjudicators’ choice” items and invited guest artists will perform.

A Touch of Dance workshop and class tickets are available from Hewitson, while matinee and evening performance tickets for the shows are on sale at Computicket at R100 each, and R80 for children up to the age of 12.

She said no formal dance training was required for the core strength and dance fit classes, but those taking the ballet Master Class should be of intermediate dance level.

  • More information from Hewitson,, or call 083-471-8893.