Keith Mackintosh

Keith MackintoshKEITH MACKINTOSH 

Former Principal Dancer and Ballet Master

Presently Artistic Coordinator & Director Outreach  

Cape Town City Ballet 

British born Keith Mackintosh trained in London at Arts Educational under Eve Pettinger, Errol Addison, Ben Stevenson and Beryl Grey and later in New York with David Howard, Stanley Williams, Maggie Black and Valentina Pereyaslavec. 

In 1967 he was the first overseas male dancer to be invited by David Poole to join the Cape Town based CAPAB Ballet (now Cape Town City Ballet). He made his debut on the stage of the City Hall as Signor Midas in John Cranko’s Lady and the Fool and was chosen, aged 21, to dance the role of Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake. 

He returned to Europe in 1968 to broaden his experience, working in London’s West End, in musical theatre, television and film and took part in the inaugural performances of Northern Dance Theatre (now Northern Ballet Theatre). He was engaged as principal dancer of the Iranian National Ballet in Teheran and then spent two years with George Balanchine’s Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève working with Alfonso Cata, Patricia Neary, John Tarras and Peter van Dyk. During his summer breaks, he traveled to Monte Carlo to study with Marika Besobrasova and perform in Princess Grace’s annual Gala de la Croix Rouge. 

In 1971 he rejoined CAPAB Ballet and by 1976 had danced the Prince in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Albrecht in Giselle. Noted for his versatility, he was equally at home in the modern repertoire and for his flair in dramatic and comedy roles, as diverse as Basilio in Don Quixote, Danilo in Merry Widow, Orpheus in Orpheus in the Underworld and Captain Belaye in Pineapple Poll. Many roles were created on him by South African choreographers. 

International producers and choreographers who also chose him include Hans Brenaa (James in La Sylphide), Alfred Rodrigues (Jeanne de Brienne, Raymonda) and André Prokovsky (Zhivago in Zhivago). Others luminaries he has worked with include John Cranko, Peter Wright, Gillian Lynn, Ninette de Valois, Richard Glasstone, Attilio Labis, Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.   

His exceptional skill in pas de deux made him a popular partner and he was much in demand dancing opposite numerous ballerinas in SA and abroad. A highlight was the invitation to partner Royal Ballet guest ballerina Margaret Barbieri in Giselle. 

In 1986 he was appointed Ballet Master but continued as Principal Dancer until his 1990 Tribute Performance as the Prince in The Sleeping Beauty. He remained Ballet Master until 2008, responsible for the standard repertoire and the international repertoire of Balanchine, Bournonville, MacMillan, André Prokovsky, Choo-San Goh, David Nixon, Van Dantzig and Van Manen. He continued to perform in roles such as the Rajah in La Bayadère, Karenin in Anna Karenina and Monsieur Germont in Camille. In 2008 he was appointed Artistic Coordinator & Director Outreach & Planning but continues to teach and coach.  

As Director Outreach he initiated the Audience Development programme which brings in new young audiences from historically disadvantaged communities and the Apprenticeship and Male Development training programmes, two skills-based, job creation programmes whose participants have the opportunity to perform with the company. Other outreach programmes include children from the Amy Biehl Foundation in Gugulethu and the Jikeleza outreach group in Hout Bay. 

Keith organizes the Master Series lectures for ‘Friends of the Ballet’ and the annual Open Day, showcasing the work of the company to the community. He is a Trustee of the Benevolent Fund which he co-founded in 1984 to assist dancers in retraining for new careers and in his ‘spare time’ he is a successful fundraiser.  

Keith travels extensively, keeping in touch with developments in the dance world, promoting the company and forging cultural links with ballet companies, directors, choreographers and dancers. Through these links he has been responsible for bringing to SA guest artists of world renown and also ballets of international choreographers such as George Balanchine, Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen, Kenneth MacMillan, David Nixon and John Neumeier.  

Internationally he has been invited to guest teach with the Finnish National Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Ballet of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Bavarian State Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Estonian National Ballet and in the UK, English National Ballet and Northern Ballet Theatre and with the renowned dance companies of Nederlands Dans Theater, Geneva Ballet and Rambert Dance Company and academic institutions in London and The Hague. He was invited to Dance Exposure in Tel Aviv in 2007 and the 2nd Istanbul International Ballet Competition in 2010.  

The Keith Mackintosh Scholarship Fund was established in 2005, with the aim of ‘supporting existing and emerging talent in the local ballet scene’. The inaugural award was made in 2008 to Mlindi Kulashi, currently studying at the English National Ballet School in London and in 2011 he presented the Prague Award competition in Cape Town which enabled two young dancers to attend the 2012 Prague International Ballet Masterclasses under the direction of ENB prima ballerina Daria Klimentova.   

Awards have included the 1981 Nederburg Award, the highest acknowledgement for a dancer’s contribution to ballet in South Africa and the 1999 Balletomanes Special Meritorious Award for services to ballet in South Africa.  

What they said:  

You are a fabulous ambassador for dance and an inspiring human being!      Thomas Edur and Agnes Oakes.

Former Principal Guest Artists, English National Ballet – Presently Directors, Estonian National Ballet.  

You are a superb host and a great coach….     Valeri Hristov, First Soloist, The Royal Ballet 

What the Press said:  

With his tall and regal bearing, dark good looks and undoubted acting ability, Keith Mackintosh is today acknowledged as one of the most versatile principal dancers in South Africa.      Derek Wilson, The Argus 

The Sleeping Beauty

….. a partner in the Dolin/Macleary class, with an aristocratic stage presence.      Peter Williams, Dance & Dancers UK 

… his general bearing is impeccable. Like Byron’s Don Juan, he dances “without theatrical pretence …. like a gentleman”.      Denis Hatfield, Cape Times    

Swan Lake  … the most regally impressive prince of all CAPAB’s principal dancers.      Florence Short, The Argus 

Giselle

Dancing opposite Miss Barbieri, Keith Mackintosh reached a new high point in his career. He supported her beautifully and danced magnificently throughout.      Amanda Botha, Rapport 

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker Prince must number among Keith Mackintosh’s best classical roles for not only did he partner with great care and much elegance, but danced his variations with style, aplomb and fine placing.   Eve Borland, Cape Times 

Cinderella

As Prince Charming, Keith Mackintosh has a bearing and presence actors, let alone dancers, could observe to advantage.      Derek Wilson, The Argus 

Romeo & Juliet    …outstanding as the foppish Paris….faultless creation…magnificent…      Derek Wilson, The Argus  

Pineapple Poll

I have seen many, many different Captain Belayes and I believe that Keith Mackintosh is absolutely the most outstanding. Not only is his tongue-in-cheek approach marvelously funny, but he is dancing so well with his Hornpipe solo being all but a show stopper.      Eve Borland, Cape Times                 

 …. the quintessential Captain Belaye.     Derek Wilson, The Argus 

The Two Pigeons …a completely convincing Gypsy Chief. He has the build and the presence that the part calls for and the technique to show it.      Keith Macfarlane, The Argus 

Zhivago …a distinctive and finely drawn study of Zhivago.      Eve Borland, Cape Times 

La Sylphide

As James, Keith Mackintosh …. gave a strong and neatly rounded off performance, he was extremely impressive with his leaps and turns and also with his interpretation of the role.      Victor Holloway, Die Burger 

The Rise and Fall of Ruby Crystal

…absolutely smashing, was the elegant, immaculate Keith Mackintosh, as the strutting, rolling sailor.      Eve Borland, Cape Times