I remember being a little girl in my mom’s ballet studio in the winter, with the freezing floor beneath my feet, the smell of resin in the air and the echo of the classical music playing under her voice shouting instructions… pull up your tummy, lengthen your neck, drop you shoulders, turn out your legs, point your toes, don’t arch your back, soften your arms and smile!!!
A ballet dancer starts her training at the tender age of four and trains for about 14 years before she can enter the professional world as a ballerina – approximately double the amount of years it takes to qualify as a medical doctor, chartered accountant or architect. Something to consider next time we question the price we pay for those ballet tickets.
Burnise Silvius, the prima ballerina of the Joburg Ballet, had the same dream as so many little girls, but through hard work, commitment and dedication she counts herself lucky to be living her dream of wearing a tutu everyday!
Don’t underestimate this gentle nymph. In 2014, she was nominated as one of Oprah’s O-magazine 21 most influential women in Africa alongside Oscar winning – Lupita Nyong’O and Florence Mashebe – award-winning actress and producer.
She has danced in almost every classical ballet that was ever choreographed in countries all over the world from Hong Kong, to Russia, to Denmark and back to Cape Town and Joburg. When asked what she would do when her body can no longer enchant us with her grace on stage, she would teach and share her knowledge with little girls and boys who dream of dancing on stage or on the streets or just in general.
The Joburg Ballet runs some wonderful programs with the youth in the townships, keeping kids off the streets and in good company.
Burnise will be performing in La Bayadére running from 12 – 28 September at the Joburg Theatre. For further information on how to support the Joburg Ballet and all the wonderful work they are doing with uplifting and educating young dancers across the country, please go to their website on joburgballet.com