Literature on the topic of ballet in South Africa is growing. However, there are still gaps as a result of the fragmentation of sources. This dissertation draws on primary and secondary sources to try to provide a coherent discussion of the history of ballet in South Africa from a fresh perspective. The research demonstrates that ballet has been in constant engagement with South African history and society since its arrival on African shores. Through secondary and primary literature, the research starts by engaging with South African balletic history by looking at an overview of ballet’s journey to South Africa and the establishment of balletic societies and institutions. Emphasis is placed on the more successful institutions based in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The history of these institutions, as traced within the research, demonstrates the responsiveness of the balletic community to the environment in which they were situated. South African choreographed ballets with Afrocentric themes are used to highlight the responsiveness that the ballet community has demonstrated towards the historical climate and structures within South African society during and after apartheid. Finally, ballet is explored in the post-apartheid context. Topics that are engaged with here include the removal of grand and petty apartheid policies, as well as the ideas behind the decolonisation of ballet as exemplified by the Cuban-South African exchange.
Dissertation (MSocSci)--University of Pretoria, 2019.