Founders

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    Philip Boyd

    Founder

Philip Boyd trained at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg, where he specialised in ballet and music. He trained at the University of Cape Town Ballet School and graduated in 1976 with distinctions. Philip joined CAPAB Ballet in 1978 and a year later danced his first principal role as Albrecht, in David Poole’s production of the ballet ‘Giselle’.

Philip was a principal dancer with CAPAB for 23 years and has danced all the great leading roles in the classical ballet repertoire performing in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Zimbabwe and London.

In 1991, he decided it was time to pass on the knowledge and experience he had gained from his professional career and decide to offer something that would bring hope and purpose to the lives of underprivileged children. The outreach programme, started under the auspices of CAPAB Ballet, was called Ballet for All. While continuing to perform principal roles with the company, Philip started teaching classes in Gugulethu. During this time, he initiated the development of Gugulethu’s Masikhanye Centre as a place of creative activities. As Dance for All grew with the addition of contemporary and African dance styles, the programme’s name was changed to Dance for All in 1995.

In 1997, Philip started the David Poole Trust, as a vehicle through which to raise funds for the programme, realising that there was so much more to be done, and that Dance for All needed to develop its own identity. In March 2002, Philip ended his long association with what had by then become Cape Town City Ballet. The same year, he was named Artistic Director of Dance for All.

In 2008 Philip was appointed as Chief Executive Officer. In this capacity, and through his positive leadership and untiring energy in promoting dance in the Western Cape, he has taken the organisation to new heights. Among the highlights are the expansion of Dance for All’s outreach programme to the rural areas of Barrydale, Montagu and Robertson.

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    Phylis Spira

    Founder

Phylis Spira (18 October 1943 – 11 March 2008) was a South African ballet dancer who began her career with the Royal Ballet in England. Upon returning to South Africa, she spent twenty-eight years as prima ballerina of professional company CAPAB Ballet in Cape Town named for the Cape Performing Arts Board. In 1984 she was named the first (and currently only) South African Prima Ballerina Assoluta.

Early life and training

After only a few months, of training at the Royal Ballet School at the age of 16, she made her debut in a performance of Swan Lake at Covent Garden after which she joined the Royal Ballet touring company.

Professional career

England-Spira remained with the touring group of the Royal Ballet for three years, from 1960 to 1963 and was promoted to soloist in 1961. A promising future lay before her, but her longing for home made her decide to return to South Africa in 1964. She continued to lead the Cape Town company until 1988. After leaving the stage Spira served as principal ballet mistress of CAPAB Ballet until 1999, during which time the company was renamed as Cape Town City Ballet. She and Philip Boyd, a former CAPAB dancer, devoted their energies to community service.

Appointed head of the David Poole Trust Youth Training Program, she and Boyd ran the Dance for All program initiated by Poole some years earlier. Set up to take dance to underprivileged children living in non-white townships, it was active in Gugulethu, Nyanga, and Khayelitsha on the borders of Cape Town and in the rural inland areas of Barrydale and Montagu.