And the proud custodian of the new South African Ballet Theatre corporate identity is brand agency Enterprise IG.
"The South African Ballet Theatre wanted to attract a new audience to the ballet," says Robert du Toit, creative director, Enterprise IG. "In a country where a vast majority of the population perceive ballet to be a white, elitist activity, Enterprise IG's objective was to create a corporate identity would appeal to a multi-cultural audience as well as reflect both classical ballet and contemporary productions. In addition the new look for the South African Ballet Theatre had to retain its existing loyal base."
The result is a typographic solution that uses the name 'South African Ballet Theatre' as the primary identity for the company. Steering away from the stereotypical 'tutu' iconography and traditional colours associated with ballet, Enterprise IG has created a corporate identity with an African feel using warm earthy colours, while retaining a soft emotive look. A powerful visual language compliments the identity.
Says Dirk Badenhorst, CEO South African Ballet Theatre: "Working with Enterprise IG on the new corporate branding for the South African Ballet Theatre has been a rewarding project. From the outset we were impressed by the sensitivity and understanding with which Enterprise IG were able to connect to and interpret the ethos of South African Ballet Theatre. They have given us a corporate image which blends traditional concepts of the beauty of ballet with a dynamic South African thrust. And in doing this project on a pro bono basis Enterprise IG has made a contribution to the performing arts and to South African Ballet Theatre that we deeply value and appreciate."
The South African Ballet Theatre has fought hard to get to where it is today. After the closure of the State Theatre in Pretoria in June 2000, six dancers from the defunct State Theatre Ballet decided that in order to keep ballet alive in Gauteng they would form a new company. In April 2004 they relocated to new studios at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre, operating with no formal identity, but today the South African Ballet Theatre is a successful company for dancers, run by dancers. A far cry from its humble beginnings the company has toured all nine provinces and has reciprocal arrangements for South African dancers to perform overseas. The South African Ballet Theatre also runs a ballet school and ballet academy as well as outreach programmes in previously disadvantaged communities.
And finally, in the words of South African Ballet Theatre patron Tito Mboweni: "The South African Ballet theatre embodies this new spirit of cultural expression, crossing historically entrenched cultural boundaries to reach out to a broad spectrum of the community, bringing the joy of a newly evolving and proudly South African ballet tradition into the lives of our fellow South Africans."