Joburg Ballet has been working very hard to ensure its survival. One of the many things it is doing is getting out into the community to advertise itself in partnership with other organisations. Their forthcoming season of The Nutcracker will be at The State Theatre in Pretoria from 22 November to 30 November 2013. The short two act ballet is about of a young girl, Clara, who gets given a wonderful Nutcracker doll for Christmas. This Nutcracker comes to life, turns into a handsome prince, and escorts Clara through a magical world of Sugar Plum Fairies, Christmas Tree Fairies, Stars, Snowflakes and dancers from exotic places like China, Russia and Spain.
Joburg Ballet have partnered with Gautrain to ensure that people can get from Johannesburg to Pretoria and back over weekend days to see the show. I went along on Wednesday to see the Joburg Ballet dance on the station at Sandton and at Hatfield. It was the first time I have been on the Gautrain. It may also be the last. I thought that the experience was very pleasant. I found parking at Sandton and it only costs R15 to park there if one uses the train and exits within one hour of the return journey. The Gautrain is spotlessly clean and completely safe. It was all very nice. So why won’t I use it again? Sadly the Gautrain doesn’t run at night making it a necessity to schlepp through the very traffic the Gautrain was designed to ease, so people attending during the week will have to brave the traffic. I am making my plea here to the Gautrain powers-that-be to look into providing trains later in the evening, although the Gautrain stations themselves are specifically designed to get people in and out of them so fast that there is no place for “loitering” while waiting for train. However, for weekend travel if one attends a matinee it might be a great family outing, especially if children haven’t experienced the joy of train travel yet. There is a bus to the State Theatre.
There is a great deal of Christmas excitement surrounding The Nutcracker ballet and it heralds the start of the Christmas season in a particularly delightful, if completely secular way. It is a time to buy beautiful roses for one’s favourite dancers (R10 at the Friends of the Ballet table) and hopefully there will be Christmas mince pies for sale. There is a special of Coffee/Tea and Cake at the Afro Lounge at The State Theatre and if you haven’t experienced this charming eatery it is high time you did. They have indoor and outdoor areas. They are also licenced and have an excellent light meal menu if you are wanting something other than tea and cake.
I am looking forward to The Nutcracker this year seen in the company of my extended family. I will also be there to see some of the alternative casts. For more information on the Gautrain please see http://www.gautrain.co.za and to book for the ballet please go to http://www.computicket.com.