Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Documentary Beyond Moving follows the story of Siphe November, a dance prodigy discovered in a South African township by the National Ballet of Canada at age ten.

  • Beyond Moving
  • Written and directed by Vikram Dasgupta
  • Classification N/A; 90 minutes

rating

3 out of 4 stars

In 2009, a Canadian family met a 10-year-old dance prodigy in a South African township and convinced his teacher and his mother that if he successfully auditioned for the National Ballet School, it would host him in Toronto. Siphe November moved to Canada a few years later, and lived with Kelly Dobbin and her family while he pursued his studies. Today he dances as a second soloist with the National Ballet of Canada, where he recently won the Erik Bruhn Prize, an international competition for young ballet stars.

The child of a single mother who worked in a canning factory, November grew up in an impoverished town in the Western Cape.

A real-life Billy Elliot, November overcame long odds to dance professionally: The child of a single mother who worked in a canning factory, he grew up in an impoverished town in the Western Cape, living with four siblings in a house where they all slept in one bed. And yet, in Vikram Dasgupta’s documentary Beyond Moving, his rise to the brink of stardom in the international ballet world feels almost inevitable: Video footage of November dancing as a little boy under the tutelage of ballet teacher Fiona Sargeant already hints at a once-in-a-generation talent. A few years later, the combination of freedom and discipline he reveals as a young professional suggest a career in the making.

Story continues below advertisement

If there were any doubts or stumbles along the way as a young artist took creative flight thousands of kilometres away from his home, we don’t see them in a feel-good documentary produced in association with the National Ballet itself. In interviews, both as a child and as a young adult, November is always cheerful and mature beyond his years on the subject of the sacrifices he’s making. The occasional downbeat is provided by a confessional Sargeant back in South Africa, sadly letting go of a prize pupil.

In interviews, both as a child and as a young adult, November is always cheerful and mature beyond his years on the subject of the sacrifices he’s making.

Handout

Even across continents, the ballet world tends to be insular. If there is something missing from the doc, it’s more sense of why Sargeant feels classical ballet is the right training for the township kids growing up in a culture with lots of its own Indigenous dance traditions. In one of many moving moments, November returns home and dances for his community, performing what appears to be an improvised piece, part modern ballet, part hip hop, on the cracked concrete of a township street. His older brother, who is a professional dancer in London, says, “Ballet is a stepping stone to be the best mover I can be.”

Where will this movement take his brother? November’s enduring connection to his home and his mother suggest his greatest moment might be achieved if he could bridge the distance between classical European traditions and the streets of Africa.

Beyond Moving is available on D.O.C./Blue Ice Docs and Hot Docs at Home.

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies