November 2020 update on live performances and events at the NAC.
Swan Lake © John Hogg
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Swan Lake © John Hogg

Canadian Premiere

NAC Presentation

Obstructed view seating available for sale at the NAC Box Office at 50% off the regular ticket price.

Swan Lake

Renowned South African dancer-choreographer Dada Masilo captivates audiences worldwide with her unique reinventions of dance classics. Swan Lake features fifteen African dancers in a vibrant, high-energy approach to one of the world’s most popular ballets. Endowing it with fast-paced new life, Masilo retains elements of the original, but also confronts, through a South African eye, serious contemporary issues of sex, gender and homophobia, while adding insightful, intelligent comedy, carnival, and African dance. This cleverly deconstructed Swan Lake is beautifully exuberant, featuring witty narration, selected new music by Steve Reich, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Arvo Pärt, a shimmying and shaking corps de ballet, bare-chested, bare-breasted, barefoot dancers, and men in tutus and on  pointe.

NOTE: partial nudity

Dada Masilo 
Choreographer, Dancer

Dada Masilo grew up in the impoverished neighbourhood of Soweto, South Africa, where she was born in 1985.  She began dancing at the age of 10, with an all-girl group, The Peace Makers, in Meadowlands, Soweto. The group auditioned to participate in a festival at The Dance Factory, which subsequently became Dada’s training ground. She also attended Johannesburg’s National School of the Arts, from which she graduated at 17. After a year as a trainee at Cape Town’s Jazzart Dance Theatre, she was accepted at the Performing Arts Research and Training Studios in Brussels, where she remained for two years. Returning to South Africa late 2006, she began to create work. In 2008, she was awarded the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Dance. Three commissions from the National Arts Festival resulted in her Romeo and Juliet (2008), Carmen (2009) and Swan Lake (2010). In 2011, she was invited to present a solo work for the Anticodes festival at Le Quartz in Brest, France. The work entitled The Bitter End of Rosemary led to a proposal by Interarts Lausanne to tour her works in Europe. So far, Swan Lake has toured extensively throughout France and also to six cities in Italy including Rome, throughout Switzerland, to Stockholm, Düsseldorf, Innsbruck, Hamburg, Luxembourg amongst others. She has created a dozen choreographies and is the recipient of two awards.

Cindy Okkers, Dada Masilo, Ipeleng Merafe, Khaya Ndlovu, Kyle Rossouw, Llewellyn Mnguni, Nadine Buys, Nicola Haskins, Nonofo Olekeng, Songezo Mcilizeli, Thabani Ntuli, Thamsanqa Tshabalala, Tshepo Zasekhaya, Zandile Constable

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky / Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski, René Avenant, Camille Saint-Saëns, Arvo Pärt and/et Steve Reich*
(*avec l'autorisation d'Hendon Music, Inc., filiale de Boosey & Hawkes, éditeur et détenteur des droits d'auteur)

Costume Design: Dada Masilo, Suzette le Sueur
Costume Confection: Ann Bailes, Kirsten Bailes
Hats Confection: Karabo Legoabe 
Original Production & Lighting Design: Suzette le Sueur
Stage Management: François Saint-Cyr
Delegated Production: Interarts Lausanne, Chantal Larguier
Booking: Martine Dionisio

Dada Masilo’s Swan Lake was commissioned by and premiered at the National Arts Festival, in Grahamstown (South Africa) in July 2010.

Performance is approximately 1 hour with no intermission.

video: Swan Lake
Swan Lake
Swan Lake © John Hogg
Swan Lake © John Hogg


  • Choreographer Dada Masilo