Behind the Scenes at the Joburg Ballet

Every now and then, the Joburg Ballet hosts open rehearsal days at its studio in Braamfontein. I went once before in 2013, soon after the Joburg Ballet was started, and although I knew nothing about ballet I was enthralled by both the dancing and the rehearsal space.

Two years later, I still know nothing about ballet. But I think it’s about time I started learning. I went to another open day last weekend and was overwhelmed by how beautiful and fun it was.


A group of dancers during their warm-up session on the top floor of the ballet studio.

The dancing in itself is amazing, but it’s the dancing in combination with the amazing view of downtown Joburg that really does it for me. This has to be one of the prettiest places in the entire city during ballet rehearsals.


Flying leap.


Can you tell that I love these silhouettes?


This is my favorite silhouette because the dancer seems to be mimicking the ballet mannequin hanging from the ceiling. 


I’m fascinated by pointe ballet shoes and the loud “clack” sound they make when a dancer’s foot hits the floor.

The company is rehearsing for its next big performance, Don Quixote, which opens on 28 August.


Rehearsing one of the dances from Don Quixote.


It was fun watching the audience watch the dancers. PS: Look how this dancer is doing a full split IN THE AIR. How is this even physically possible?

I’ll be going to the opening of Don Quixote in a couple of weeks. I’m sure it will be stunning. But I can’t imagine that I’ll enjoy the actual show more than I enjoyed the rehearsal.


I’d like to tell you that I made this shot blurry on purpose, to illustrate the mood and the movement of the dancer. But no, it’s just an accidental blurry photo. For some reason I like it anyway.

If you’d like to attend a future open day at the Joburg Ballet, email to get onto the mailing list. In the meantime, book your tickets for Don Quixote.

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  • Reply Derek Smith August 18, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Beauty in motion – I’d love to photograph this

    • Reply 2summers August 18, 2015 at 10:00 am

      Thanks Derek, I’ll let you know the next time I hear about another open day.

  • Reply Timmee August 18, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Take me with you!

    • Reply 2summers August 18, 2015 at 11:52 am

      I was actually just kicking myself for not thinking to tell you about it. Next time! ?

      • Reply Alexioso August 20, 2015 at 7:53 am

        Meeee toooo

  • Reply Andrew Seal August 18, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Wonderful gallery of movement and dance; the flying leap is sensational 🙂

    • Reply 2summers August 18, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks so much Andrew 🙂

  • Reply amelie88 August 19, 2015 at 6:46 am

    I took ballet classes for about 10 years. I was really terrible at it but it was that or be forced to join a sports team by my mom. I took pointe classes too–somewhere in my parents’ house my pointe shoes are still lying around. My sister was the gifted dancer and it was always a joy to watch her dance.

    However even though I never enjoyed ballet classes themselves, I loved going to see them at Lincoln Center which is the home of New York City Ballet. Also American Ballet Theater also based in NYC. My old ballet teacher actually danced for NYCB and knew George Balanchine, the legendary founder who is basically the father of American ballet. It’s so great to see ballet is well and alive in South Africa. Loving all those passes, releves and grand jetes (the split in the air) in the pictures. 🙂

    • Reply 2summers August 19, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      Cool! And if you did it for ten years I’ll bet you were better than you’re letting on 🙂

      • Reply amelie88 August 19, 2015 at 7:28 pm

        No, I was really terrible haha. I’m not being humble, I stuck out like a sore thumb in class. But I do remember the names of many positions so if you’re ever wondering what a certain position is, let me know! 🙂

  • Reply autumnashbough August 23, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Love those photos, and yes, most gorgeous dance studio I have ever seen.

    • Reply 2summers August 23, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      I know, right? It’s the only professional dance studio I’ve ever been to but I can’t imagine they get any prettier.

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