Home Misc South African ballet dancer lands the Moulin Rouge in Paris!

South African ballet dancer lands the Moulin Rouge in Paris!

Chris Ncekana who trained at Dance for All in Gugulethu is now part of the legendary Moulin Rouge

by capetowndiva


Chris outside the Moulin Rouge. Photo by Philippe Wojazer

The iconic Moulin Rouge in Paris has a stunning new dancer in the ranks, none other than Capetonian Chris Ncekana (32). It is a huge feather in his career cap plus this news gives South Africans travelling to France for the Rugby World Cup an additional excuse to visit Paris and the legendary Moulin Rouge!

Speaking to me in Paris last month Chris said, “Being at the Moulin Rouge is definitely a next-level career highlight for me. Being part of a cabaret show that was established here in Paris 130 years ago is just incredible. I still get goosebumps thinking about my first audition in October 2019 when I was among 150 dancers from all over the world all wanting to land a spot at the Moulin. I was so nervous but had faith in my special South African energy and I was determined to light up the room. The audition went very well and I was among only three male dancers chosen- what a day that was!”

Ncekana’s remarkable journey began at Dance for All (DFA) in Athlone at age 6 where he was trained by the likes of the late CAPAB Ballet prima ballerina Phyllis Spira, as well as Adele Blank, Hope Nongqongqo Pamela and former DFA CEO Philip Boyd, who founded the dance school in 1991 which is now headed by Allison Hendricks. Boyd describes Chris as having shown great promise from an early age. “We knew from the start that Chris would succeed,” said Boyd. “He was always enthusiastic and dedicated, and he had the utmost respect for his teachers. I am so proud of this achievement that comes as a result of his determination, dedication and discipline.”

Professionally Chris has worked with established South African dance companies such as Bovim Ballet and Jazzart Dance Theatre and spent more than a decade performing on board cruise ships. His  acting skills have also landed him roles in movies such as the recent The Woman King, and he has also worked as a model.

Born in Gugulethu just outside the city centre, Chris shares how his parents supported his passion for dance and watched with pride as he forged his unique career path. His relentless determination and a desire to continuously hone his craft remains a significant  driving force.  “My message to aspiring dancers in Gugs and at Dance for All in Athlone is to never stop dreaming!  Know that the sky is the limit and always aim higher. Look at me – who would have thought a Gugulethu kid would end up working in the Moulin Rouge. The key is to be disciplined, to keep working hard, learning and improving and you’ll see, the rewards will come.”

After auditioning in Paris earlier this year, Janet Pharaoh, the Moulin Rouge Artistic Director invited Chris to join the cast of 60 dancers from 18 different nationalities. His arrival is the realisation of a lifelong dream and his first performance at the Moulin Rouge this past July was sensational. “I loved the energy onstage and the connection with the audience- it was all so surreal and it has one again reaffirmed my purpose as a performer.” The Moulin Rouge welcomes close to 600,000 spectators annually from all across the globe.

Chris performs twice nightly, 6 days a week in the current show called Féerie, a spectacular production featuring 1000 costumes made from feathers, rhinestones and sequins, plus with sumptuous sets in shimmering colours, original scores and the famous French Cancan! www.moulinrouge.fr



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