Faith and dance


Iain MacDonald is the Principal dancer of the South African Ballet Theatre. Iain is a committed Christian and has often danced for Beauty for Ashes. This is his story.

As a Principal dancer with The South African Ballet Theatre (now Joburg Ballet), my body is my instrument. I must always be in tip-top condition and as fit as possible. Like all professional athletes, an injury to a dancer can have a very negative impact on ones career.

In 2004 I suffered from great pain in my hip joint: this was a result of wear and tear and for the first time in my life, had to face the very possible reality of a life without dance. Ballet has been my life since I was nine years old and very much a part of my identity and persona.

I needed a hip replacement

The months leading up to the diagnosis had been the most trying and depressing time in my life. I soon had to decide whether or not to undergo surgery—a successful outcome from this surgery was not guaranteed and there was the very real possibility of my ballet career coming to a premature end.  After much discussion with my wife Karen, family, dance teachers and friends and medical practitioners, I decide to undergo a hip replacement operation in 2004.

Despite the phenomenal support I had, I still had my doubts and looked to the Lord for affirmation. He had been at my side throughout my career and it had been by His grace that I succeeded. He helped me see the ‘bigger picture’ in this situation and gave me the courage I needed to undergo the operation.

The day of the operation

On the day of the operation, 30 January 2004, I was paging though an inspirational book called “Faith for Living”. By chance I opened the book on a page which said that medical doctors are blessed by the Lord as they have been given the gift to heal. I arrived at the hospital secure in the knowledge that the Lord was with me and that I had made the correct decision.

I am pleased to say that I was appointed Senior Principal dancer in 2008 and after the operation, continued to have a varied and exciting career as a ballet dancer in South Africa. I have performed for presidents, politicians, mothers, fathers, children, journalists, the rich and the not-so-rich; people from all walks of life. The Lord has given me the talent, strength and focus to share the magic of ballet with audiences across the country.

Beauty for Ashes Women's Conference is an interdenominational, faith-based, non-profit organisation and has been bringing conferences, resources, encouragement and hope to women in southern Africa since 1996.

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One Comment

  1. Gill Cooper February 15, 2015 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    Wonderful testimony, Iain, bless you as you continue to use the gift He has given you to help young people live their dreams, Gill

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