History of Ballet in South Africa - Dulcie Howes
History of Ballet in South Africa - Dulcie Howes
Add to your Shopping Cart
Remove from your Shopping Cart
Remove from your favorite works list
Add to your favorite works list
Send as an eCard!
W: 508mm x H: 762mm x D: 25mm
W: 20" x H: 30" x D: 1"
Approx. Weight: 1.5kg
This work is
About "History of Ballet in South Africa - Dulcie Howes"
Names: Howes, Dulcie
Born: 1904, Mossel Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
In summary: Teacher and First South African Professional ballet dancer
"Nothing Can Match the singleness of purpose, the foresight, or tenacity through all adversity, of Dulcie Howes ... She achieved in her lifetime what she set out to do: to present to her country ballet of a high standard technically and artistically; she also experienced the singular honor of receiving recognition both at home and abroad for her dedication she deserves it all." (From Marina Grut's book The History of Ballet in South Africa)
Dulcie was born in Little Brak in 1904, when "fancy dancing" was in its infancy in this country and it was not yet fashionable for virtually every well bred little white girl to take ballet lessons, at least for a few years, to develop good posture, deportment and refinement of movement. Her early training was with Helen Webb and Helen White, but she furthered her studies abroad while in her late teens and early twenties, acquiring also an adequate grounding in ballroom, Spanish and Greek dance, and at the same time acquainting herself with the production of professional ballet. She returned to South Africa in 1928 to promote the art of classical ballet, relentlessly pursuing her dreams of giving the country its own world class professional company and making classical ballet accessible to all.
The establishment of her ballet school in Rondebosch and its incorporation into the music faculty of the University of Cape Town, in 1934, as the first dance department in the world to be linked to a tertiary institution, is well documented. Her ideas and beliefs in the value of a broad, dance based education were implemented at the UCT Ballet School in 1941 as a diploma course, but her ultimate goal of offering a degree program at university level was only realised in 1998, some years after her death.
Such was her reputation that very little was done on the professional dance scene without prior consultation with her, and her advice was sought when both the Nico Malan Opera House and the Baxter Theatre, the two foremost performing spaces in Cape Town, were conceived and built. A few years earlier, in 1961, it was her foresight that resulted in the construction of the new ballet studios at UCT. These still house the UCT School of Dance (renamed in 1997) and the newly independent Cape Town City Ballet. She was also much in demand on theatre administration boards around the country and widely respected as a judge and critic on numerous dance panels.
Howes worked indefatigably to establish ballet as a subject to be taught in schools in the four provinces of the old South Africa, and for many years was the custodian of the discipline in schools throughout the country, approving curricula and encouraging those whose teaching circumstances were not ideal. Sadly, the discipline is losing its appeal to scholars as a matriculation subject and is being replaced by a more general training in creative movement, contemporary and African dance. The aspirant classical ballet dancer has to rely increasingly on private tuition just to be exposed to the art form and certainly to attain the standard of technique required by a professional company.
On the political front Howes cut a formidable figure. It was as a dance educator that she was able to defy the politics of the day and ensure the inclusion of people of color in her school and company. Her determination to provide a platform for all South Africans to participate in and appreciate classical ballet and her rigorous defense of her principles in the face of criticism enabled many that would otherwise not have had that opportunity to practice and participate in this magical art. She was always firmly but politely persuasive, and few had the courage to defy or gainsay a Howes edict. Some would attribute her success to arrogance and her ability to override anyone who stood in the way of her goals, but even her detractors are forced to admit, albeit grudgingly, that she changed the perception of audiences and artists alike of the role and relevance of a classical ballet training and the value of a professional ballet company to the cultural life of the country.
Howes's tangible legacy, the Dulcie Howes Trust, established by her and her husband, Guy Cronwright, in 1950, left this country's dance community a priceless asset. Originally funded from the proceeds of performances given by the UCT Ballet Company, the Trust now relies solely on the generosity of the dance public, who are also being targeted to assist in keeping the professional company, Cape Town City Ballet, alive. Countless dancers, teachers, scholars and choreographers have benefited from the proceeds of Howes's work in financial terms, and many continue to receive assistance from the trust to pursue their dreams of contributing to dance in this country.
It was Howes who invited members of the EOAN Group, established in 1934 by Mrs H SoutherHolt, to complete their training at the UCT ballet school and it was the trust that provided the financial backing for this enterprise. The names of Didi Sydow, Gwen Michaels, Pauline Wicks and Johaar Mosaval stand out as beneficiaries of Howes's foresight in providing training and performing experience to members of the group. The Trust remains one of only two meaningful sources of bursaries for the study of ballet in the Western Cape.
However, it is perhaps as a lady of glamour and style that Howes will be most fondly remembered. Who can forget the sight of her diminutive figure, clad in a tapestry of color, in gold or in silver, sweeping into an auditorium or gracing a stage and how many of us did not appreciate her succinct and witty vocal delivery, sometimes on more serious occasions bringing us all back down to earth where her feet were always firmly planted, and making her much in demand as a public speaker. She constantly reminded us of the beauty of classical ballet, its value as an educational tool and physical training method and its ability to transport the viewer into a world of fantasy and awe inspiring physicality far removed from the ugliness and depression of our daily existence.
She may well just have been in the right place at the right time, but it was her firm intent and unshakeable belief that classical ballet would always have a place on the South African stage that provided the infrastructures and opportunities for the development of the art. Many of these are being slowly eroded and it is left to the present generation to protect and preserve the beauty of classical ballet, a priceless heritage left to the South African cultural scene by Dulcie Howes.
She returned to South Africa in 1930 and opened a ballet school in Rondebosch to teach ballet, ballroom and Spanish dancing. The school was later moved to the College of Music which led to the founding of the UCT Ballet School in 1932. In the period 1932 to 1952, she also choreographed 30 original ballets including La Famille, Vlei Legend, Bach Suite and The Enchanted Well.
In 1935, she was appointed Director of the Little Theatre and established the UCT Ballet Company.
In 1950, the Dulcie Howes Ballet Trust Fund was established to fund dancers to study abroad and to sponsor guest artists to South Africa.
In 1965, the UCT Ballet Company became the CAPAB (Cape Performing Arts Board) Ballet Company (and has since been renamed the Cape Town City Ballet Company) but Dulcie Howes remained as artistic director until 1969 when she retired. In 1972, she also retired as principal of the UCT Ballet School.
Remove Lenten from your favorite artists list
Add Lenten to your favorite artists list
View all 16 works by Lenten der Mond
I want to create a sense of scrutiny and inquisitiveness, for the spectator to think outside the box, to detect more than the depiction in front of him. I crave to connect to people in a divine manner, to make way to self discovery while exploring beyond the palpable.
My first painting was done in 2012, imminent from a dream. I always loved to draw and fooling around with material paint, but never gave thought of doing it on canvas - or if I am honest to myself.....Had the guts to do so
My inspiration is an emotional response to what I experience in life. By directing it on canvas I am able to portray what I experience to a more universal language. I find symbolism a great tool to portray my inner feelings, and yet it still enables me to disguise the harshness of some emotions.
The symbolism of color as well as the objects used in all the portraits' enhance the meaning beyond the palpable, and only after realising what the true meaning are, beyond what you see, you will be able to understand the intrigue in the true objective.
Every canvas I do is based on a specific person, or life experience. While I was discovering what I wanted to do, I distanced myself from the portraits, selecting other people to be represented. I looked at famous people, and rather portrayed them, than showing myself. It was only when I became more relaxed and gained more confidence that I was willing to bring it closer to home.
People who chose Lenten's work also chose work by: