Senior Management Biographies
Chief Executive Officer
South African-born and educated, Esther Nasser brings an in-depth knowledge of dance and extensive experience in dance company management to the position of Joburg Ballet CEO.
From 1988 to 2000 she was artistic director of the State Theatre Dance Company, one of SA’s most highly acclaimed dance companies, and in 2008 filled the same role with Mzansi Productions. Beginning in 1982, she also directed a number of independent dance companies – Movement Inc, Jozi Dance Company, Tshwane Dance Theatre – as well as being invited to work with many SA dance and ballet companies, restaging works by respected international choreographers. As a choreographer, she has created an extensive repertoire of original works to both commissioned and existing music and soundtracks, winning several awards for choreography.
She became involved in inclusivity and social cohesion in dance and theatre before SA achieved democracy in 1994 and remains actively involved in the process. She has established community and outreach projects, winning the Gauteng Achievement Community/Outreach Award in 1999. She has also taught and lectured at SA universities and technikons and has choreographed and directed extensively for television.
Esther Nasser was appointed CEO of Joburg Ballet in August 2016.
Iain MacDonald was born in Johannesburg and studied at the National School of the Arts in his home city as well as privately with Ethné Ferraris. On completing his dance training he joined PACT Ballet (later The State Theatre Ballet) in 1991 where he rose to the rank of Principal Dancer. He danced principal and soloist roles in the company’s extensive repertoire of the classical ballets, full-length narrative ballets and many shorter works by major 20th century choreographers. He danced at the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela in 1994.
Following the closure of The State Theatre Ballet in 2000, he, together with five others, formed The South African Ballet Theatre where he served on the company’s management while continuing to pursue his career as a dancer. He has now retired from the stage. He was later appointed the company’s artist director and continues to hold this post today with SABT’s successor company, Joburg Ballet.
As a choreographer he has created several shorter works for Joburg Ballet as well as two full-length productions, Cinderella to music by Johann Strauss II and Snow White with music drawn from the compositions of Dmitri Shostakovich.
As a teacher and coach, he works extensively with the dancers of Joburg Ballet as well as regularly serving on the teaching faculty of the American Academy of Ballet in New York, USA, as a visiting lecturer.
Kabelo Modiga was born and bred in Rockville, Soweto, and matriculated at McAuley House Convent School, Johannesburg. She has career experience in Public Relations, Event Management, Branding, Sales and Management. She joined Joburg Ballet in 2014 as General Manager and has developed a huge passion for the arts. She describes her journey at the company as having been amazing and inspiring, learning a lot about the ballet world every day. She has won the Madge Cade Award for services to Joburg Ballet.
Lauren Slade was born in Johannesburg. As a dance student she trained privately and at the National School of the Arts, Johannesburg, before joining The State Theatre Ballet in 1996. After the closure of the company in 2000, she became a founding member of The South African Ballet Theatre with the rank of Soloist, performing roles in The Sleeping Beauty, Papillon, Napoli, Coppélia and other works. She was appointed Ballet Mistress in 2006 and has twice won the Madge Cade Award for services to Joburg Ballet.