Cape Town City Ballet has found a new home in the Rondebosch Sports Club, although the reasons for its move from its home of 82 years, the University of Cape Town, are not clear. The ballet says it was forced out because #FeesMustFall protestors claimed it was too colonial, but this claim is disputed by the university.
The ballet's executive director, Elizabeth Triegaardt told The Times that this had been the "most stressful time in the company's history". She said the ballet had "managed to keep going" thanks to Artscape but the company was split over various locations since its move from UCT.
The Rondebosch club would now be the Ballet's home following negotiations with the City and the club, she reportedly said.
Triegaardt told the paper that there had been no further contact with UCT and, as far as she was concerned, their relationship was over.
However, in an interview with Channel24 in November last year, the university denied that the ballet company was chased away for being colonial.
The university's spokesperson, Pat Lucas, told Channel24: "The University of Cape Town's lease agreement with Cape Town City Ballet (CTCB) for studio space expires on 31 December 2016 and CTCB remains a tenant. The lease has been under discussion for the last two years, as UCT was already taking in larger numbers in our dance courses -– which include classical ballet, as well as choreographic studies and dance teaching methods. The space constraints for UCT dance courses had already reached a tipping point as early as 2014. At the beginning of 2016, UCT took the proactive step of approaching the Cape Town municipality about the possible use of an alternate venue for CTCB. This option is awaiting municipal approval.
"The School of Dance did have to be closed one day due to disruptions by protesters who were walking from one UCT building to the next. They were not targeting CTCB but were seeking to shut down all operations on campus, as part of a nationwide protest. However, as explained above, discussions around the lease agreement, and UCT's steps to proactively arrive at a possible solution, began long before the most recent spate of protests on campus.
"There is no factual basis for any allegation that the University of Cape Town will no longer support ballet as an art form."