Ballet is known to refine balance, flexibility and core strength and the health benefits of dance, especially ballet, are well documented, but what motivates a grandmother from Dundee, KwaZulu-Natal, to put on her pointe shoes again after forty years? Once a ballet dancer, always a ballet dancer! Ezit Froneman, is a passionate ballet dancer and her tale is an inspirational journey driven by commitment and dedication.
Ezit started ballet with Dinky Goldberg, a Royal Academy of Dance teacher, at the age of seven when she moved to Port Elizabeth in 1962. When Dinky Goldberg retired in 1968, she moved to the very strict Dame Maisy Louden-Carter, noting that “Where Dinky Goldberg instilled the love for ballet; Maisy Louden-Carter drilled technique and discipline into me”. Then, in 1972, she continued her training with Norma Blakeway who combined all the disciplines of ballet.
In 1971 Ezit did her Elementary ballet exam and become a Student Member with the Royal Academy of Dance. In 1973 she did Intermediate and became a full member and qualified to teach ballet. When in matric she applied to do a BA in Ballet at the University of Cape Town and was called in to endure a weeklong trial at CAPAB. She later received a telegram that her application had been successful, but decided to decline the position after her father pointed out, that ballet in South Africa at that stage was not a recommended career choice. When she asked him why he had allowed her to go through the whole process, he said that he wanted her to know that she was good enough to do it. Ezit now admits, “I loved dancing exams and helping with choreography, but concerts were not for me; I clearly got stage fright and preferred to work behind the curtains.”
After she matriculated, Ezit attended the University of Port Elizabeth and tried to carry on with ballet at the same time. She even attempted to do her Advanced in 1975, but her priority was to get her University degree. She did however do Spanish Dancing and passed her Grade 5 exam with Margieta Marx.
Since graduating from University, she has done Aerobics, a little bit of Modern Dancing and started and ran a Gymnastic Club, but never taught ballet. Then in 2012 she starting attending Pilates classes in Dundee and it was here that her friend, Sharon Burns, heard of her previous ballet history and invited her to attend a ballet class with DASA teacher Sulindi van Wyk. At first she though it would just be for fun, but everything just fell back into place and she soon realised that she could cope well enough to try major exams again. The first challenge was the Intermediate exam, and then, after more than forty years, she danced her Advanced 1 exam which she passed with Distinction.
“At my age it takes a bit more discipline to keep in shape and diligent training is essential,” Ezit concludes.
“My life has been enriched by ballet the past three years. The Lord has blessed me with a healthy body and the fact that I can still do this at 60 is something I am very grateful for. I have a husband who supports me and has patience with the aching muscles and feet. I also met the most amazing and inspiring people through this journey. Sulindi has been a wonderful teacher and inspiration. Jenny Devenish has motivated and added fine tuning when I needed it and Claire von Weichardt has become a friend through our ballet sessions. And then the young group of ballerinas I practice with, who keep me on my toes (literally) and whom I spend time with are an added bonus.”
Ezit continues to prove that by sheer will and determination, and by never giving up, you can achieve your goals.
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.