The Dance Première season consisted of Les Sylphides, After the Rain, Looking at Love, Jikjika (NDC and  Napac Youth Dance Company) Natal Playhouse Drama Theatre 15-24 March. The slide show below includes some small photos; does anyone have any others?

Op de weg Heen & Terug / Journey / Flitterblotters II Natal Playhouse Loft Theatre 26 April-3 May (?) Does anyone have any photographs of this production?

Check Out Dance! Natal Playhouse Opera Theatre. Saturday AM Date? The theatre and sometimes the stage was filled with kids of all ages and backgrounds. Does anyone have any photographs (especially the 4 Ninja Turtles as cygnets) or remember the name of the compere? As I remember it the turtles found themselves auditioning for NDC at a Coppelia rehearsal. The evil Shredder then appeared and became von Shredder in Swan Lake act 2.

Napac Dance Company celebrated five years of existence in 1990. We presented the 5th Anniversary Season at the Natal Playhouse Opera with Romeo and Juliet and Dance Spectrum.

Romeo and Juliet opened at the Playhouse Opera Theatre (with NPO) on 2 June and had further performances on 3, 8, 9, 15 and 17 June.

The photo here is of Chris Kindo with Nicole Verch.

Pictures of the dancers and staff of the company in 1990 appeared in the Dance Spectrum programme:

Dance Spectrum Swan Lake Act 2, Dark Waves, Black Swan pas de deux, Le Spectre de la Rose, Soul of Afrika Natal Playhouse 10, 12, 13, 19, 23, 24 June. See slideshow below (use arrows to change pages).

The hugely popular Coppélia was repeated at the Natal Playhouse Drama Theatre from 13-22 July

Friends of Dance had their 1st Birthday Gala Natal Playhouse Opera Theatre with NPO on 20 October (matinee and evening). The programme consisted of Les Sylphides, Cinque Uomini , Mango Suite, Pas de Dix, Spartacus Pas de Deux (Johan van Niekerk) , Nutcracker pas de deux, Finale – glimpses from NDC’s first 5 years

Some of the leading dancers of the company took a call at the Gala: here, from left to right, are: Cinzia Tibaldi (partially obscured), Ayako Yoshikawa, Johan van Niekerk, Robyn Segel, Jan Venter and Judy Holme.

Coppelia went on tour to Pietermaritzburg 25-27 October and to Bloemfontein from 6-10 November.

Jane Allyn, pictured below with students, from Junior Dance Theatre of Kwa-Zulu Natal, who appeared in the Napac Dance Company’s Nutcracker. Jane taught for JDT and for Napac’s Junior Dance Course.

The Nutcracker was at Natal Playhouse Drama Theatre 9-31 December. See slideshow below (use arrows to change pages).

As I wrote elsewhere in these pages, during my sixth year in Durban I was able to form a Youth Dance Company whose dancers not only augmented the main company when necessary but performed with great vivacity in their own right.


With Mandela released from jail, the future of S Africa was looking distinctly happier and far more optimistic, but when our son began junior school we felt it was time to put his future first. It was with great heaviness of hearts that we left Durban for Glasgow, where Galina Samsova had offered me the post of ballet master at Scottish Ballet (she had recently taken over as artistic director). In Glasgow, we had only just started unpacking our things from Durban when an offer to become artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet arrived. We were less than a year in Scotland, and New Zealand’s offer was one I could not refuse.

Garry Trinder took over the directorship of Napac Dance Company for two years, before the company was renamed Playhouse Dance Company. Tammy Ballantyne puts the history of the company in a wider context in her MA thesis ‘Identity and Transformation within the Playhouse Dance Company 1993-1997’. This thought-provoking document is available via the following link:


There are a number of books that trace the history of ballet in S Africa, notably that by Marina Grut. Whether or not one finds such records viable as pointers to possible future development, depends of course entirely on the interpretative lens through which today’s reader peers.