Ballet in South Africa

Written for JOURN 333 (Photojournalism) Research Assignment 3.

I took ballet classes for about three years when I was in elementary school; so when I saw this series by Frank Trimbos, I was immediately drawn to it. Trimbos, who is now thirty-five, moved from Holland (the Netherlands) to South Africa in 2010 to document the social struggles there. He covered an initiative in Johannesburg to provide free ballet training to the youth in the townships round about.

Of all the photos, this one was absolutely beautiful. We have no idea who the girl is, how old she is, how talented she is. But that is what makes her so representative of the masses of South African young people taking ballet and aspiring to greatness in their broken society.

It is interesting that she is standing in what is called first position in ballet, almost as if to say that this is just the beginning.

I originally saw this picture set on CNN, but it can also be viewed on Trimbos’ personal website.

Correction: By the way, everyone, I made a mistake in referring to the ballerina’s stance as being in first position. She actually is doing an eleve (a bit shyly, come to think of it, as though embarrassed to show what she has been learning). Since I like analogies, here’s one: She is reaching to greater heights. 🙂


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