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Cupcakes & Conversation with Laura Bösenberg, Principal, Cape Town City Ballet
Cape Town City Ballet (CTCB) is governed by a Board of Directors, with Elizabeth Triegaardt as Executive Director, responsible to the Board for all artistic and business decisions. CTCB currently employs 24 dancers on a permanent contract and operates with a small, very experienced staff.
You may have read in the news that the Company is in a difficult financial situation right now. The reason is because the Western Cape subsidy (in place since 1994 when the Company was no longer fully state-funded on a national level) is no longer sufficient to sustain them in the current economic downturn. In 2010 the Company hope to raise R1.8m through private sponsorship (grants and donations). CTCB’s budget for 09/10 is R6.9m (49% production costs). The Company perform over 120 times annually in formal and informal venues around the country. Production income accounts for roughly 55% of total income, while government grants total less than 20%.
By chance yesterday evening I met a lady from South Africa who is an enthusiastic and knowlegeable supporter of ballet – both at home and abroad (Hello, if you are reading this) and if her enjoyment of ballet is represented across the country then I hope that the Company survives in the long term.
The Company aims to ensure that classical ballet remains in South Africa (they lose many talented local dancers abroad), and by interviewing one of their Principal dancers, I hope to raise awareness of the Company worldwide.
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?
A rehearsal that day that I’m particularly enjoying working on, a good cup of coffee or a bright sun shiny morning:)
What are you looking forward to dancing this year?
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance?
Umm.. Roberto Bolle in Romeo and Juliet or Carlos Acosta in Fille mal Gardee?
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance?
The Paris Opera House.
How do you prepare your pointe shoes?
I sew elastics and ribbons and pan them pre show, nothing drastic:) luckily!
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
Wake up at 7.30, get ready for class at 10, end notes at 2pm and rest during the afternoon to get ready for the show at 8. I like getting to the theatre around 6.30 to prepare.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
I’ve gone blank!! I had a whole long list!! Let’s see… Love Top Gear so probably Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May (can they count as 1!?), Darcey Bussell, Rowan Atkinson & Jim Carey.
What would surprise people about you ?
I’m pretty transparent so I’m not too sure?
Who inspired you to dance ?
The many beautiful ballerinas of the past and present and my teachers who have encouraged me.
What is your best piece of advice?
Dance for yourself and appreciate your God given talent so that the audience who appreciate you, may see your passion shine through from within.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I eat a good meal early in the day that helps me most with energy, try and rest and sort out my tights, shoes, hair things etc. I like to get to the theatre about 2 hours before the show. And do make-up and hair and warm up.
Which role has tested you the most & how?
I can’t pin point anything thinking about it; I find something in every season that is a challenge where I need to really work!
If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create ?
The ultimate tutu! Super comfy and very easy to move in, it won’t restrict you at all, and it will be flattering and fit properly.
What do you look for in a dance partner?
Someone who remembers corrections and remembers when I’ve told them how I like to be partnered. I also like someone who’s musical and strong.
What is your favourite quote ?
“I’m so broke I can’t even afford to pay attention!”
“That’s not a small frog, that’s rather a large bullfrog” – The Turning Point
Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you ?
My high attitude derriere kick up.
A phrase I use far too often is … ?
“What the hell!!!”
What’s been your best on-stage moment so far ?
Performing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.
Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
I keep it a secret!
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now ?
I’d like a few more Principal roles under my belt and to see Cape Town City Ballet survive successfully and come out stronger after all the financial cuts from the government and lack of funding!