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Siphesihle How November is rocking ballet

November brings South African talent to the National Ballet of Canada

Siphesihle November Do not Remember When he started dancing. He just remembers how it felt. “I knew that power dance dominates me. When I was part of it, it felt like a home,” he says. As a principal dancer of the National Ballet of Canada, and at the age of 23, the youngest in its 70-year history, he is now in a world away from the South African farming township of Zolani, where he grew up. There, it was improvised in Quiet in November. Quiet is a mashup of house music and traditional beats, roughly transformed into a “hot temper”.

November soon became known as a “dancer” among the locals, and the art form was his lifeline. Poverty and racism were widespread in the area where he lived with his brother and his mother, the canning worker Sylvia. “I’m from a place where you’re facing a very raw and realistic situation,” he says. “Communicating that sadness helped me navigate who I am.”

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When November was 10 years old, his talent caught the attention of families visiting Toronto, who registered their daughter with a local dance academy. Fascinated, they encouraged him to apply for the National Ballet School in Canada. At the age of 12, he was accepted on a full scholarship, leaving his brother and mother. “It was a feast of excitement,” he says. “Homesick came later.”

At school, in November he alchemized Kwight’s hot temper to drive a jump against gravity and burn off rough edges from a classic position. Like Zorani, he has become a known amount. The National Ballet Company has abandoned its regular apprenticeship period in order to get a job in November shortly after graduation.This month he will appear in Karen Kane’s new adaptation The lake of swan..

His tech isn’t the only thing that makes him outlier in ballet. His style is rooted in African tradition. With each performance, November will counter the deeply rooted Eurocentrism. “I’m in a form of art where everything is very objective. How can I go beyond that to impress people and have different conversations at the dinner table?”

The lake of swan Is a step towards the podium, but I would like to choreograph in November as well —
The talent he easily bent this spring is On a solid ground.. It’s a choreography that allows him to show off his versatility, and his sky-high legs and jumps can be mixed with Kwight’s bizarre reflexive prosperity. “In any dance setting, I never drown. I’m always floating,” he says. “That is my superpower.”

Pop quiz

Pre-performance routine: “I’m listening to the Afrobeat playlist. I also need coffee.
nap. “

After Show Routine: “Potato chips, dry mango, and orange Fanta are packed in the face.”

Favorite dance movie: “You can’t go wrong Center stage.. “

South African comfort: “People, mountains, bushes, seas, roads. These are the most beautiful things in the world.”

Off-stage obsession: “I’m crazy about really natural wines now, especially when summer comes.”


This article was printed in the June 2022 issue. McLeans magazine.Subscribe to monthly print magazines hereOr buy the issue online here..

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Siphesihle How November is rocking ballet

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