Dance film online screening: Die Dans Van My Heenkoms (The Dance of My Origin), a South African Dance Legacy-Bolero stories told by Alfred Hinkel, July 17 to August 17, 2021

Die Dans Van My Heenkoms (The Dance of My Origin)- a South African Dance Legacy- Bolero stories told by Alfred Hinkel

What: Dance film – memoir/documentary/art film Screening online: Sat Jul 17, 2021, 06:00 – Tue Aug 17, 2021, 23:00 Tickets: R100 Booking link: Viewing access: This film is not geo-locked/blocked. Watch anywhere – in the world Producers: This film was created for the 2020 edition of the vNAF (Virtual National Festival), with funding from the NAC and is produced by Garage Dance Ensemble Director of lockdown choreography: John Linden Info: E-mail  

In 2020, renowned South African choreographer Alfred Hinkel and his partner and creative director, John Linden of Garage Dance Ensemble in Okiep [also spelled – Ookiep] in the Northern Cape, were invited by the National Arts Festival to create a film for the vNAF – Virtual National Arts Festival. Garage had been selected for the NAF 2020 curated programme, to stage Hinkel’s new work, Krummelpap, Afval en Sunlightseepbaddens, set to the poetry of award winning poet Ronelda Kamfer. That plan had to be set aside because of lockdown. The live festival in Makhanda was cancelled and the NAF rolled out its virtual festival.   It was suggested that Garage might want to consider making a film for the vNAF. The result was Die Dans Van My Heenkoms (The Dance of My Origin) – a South African Dance Legacy- Bolero stories told by Alfred Hinkel. If you missed, the film on the vNAF, it is screening online July 17 to August 17, 2021, on Quicket. Hop on to the booking link and get your ticket – or tickets – and you can also donate. Keep reading about the genesis of the film and Alfred Hinkel’s seminal dance piece, Bolero which is the thread which runs through this illuminating and stirring film. In the film, he tells stories about the genesis of his Bolero dance. Bolero is emblematic of his origin story as an artist in South Africa; coming of age; an awakening. Before he stumbled on Boléro by French composer Maurice Ravel, he says that he was ill-informed – “of everything”. The one-movement orchestral piece was conceived as a ballet commissioned by Russian actress and dancer Ida Rubinstein and premiered in 1928. Hinkel came across Ravel’s Boléro, amongst his mother’s collection of Bakelite records. He was entranced. Boléro was a creative prompt and ignited his journey as an artist. The film tracks fragments of his journey- framed against the context of South Africa – from 1976 to now.

To be clear, Die Dans Van My Heenkoms, the film, was made for the vNAF – 2020. The July online screening Die Dans Van My Heenkom is not part of NAF 2021, however Garage Ensemble is grateful for the support from the NAF and that is crediting the festival accordingly. Hinkel explains how the film came about: “Having no experience with digital I proposed a doccie on our award winning Bolero since we had archival footage going back to the 70s. The NAF approved the proposal. I spent hours on the stoep being filmed while I told the story. It was filmed by an Afrikaans rapper, Vito Hein who had a halfway decent camera. Needless to say there was far too much. Marquin Carstens did the editing. He is a local designer from Bergsig near Ookiep who designs and makes matric ball gowns and wedding dresses. He somehow managed to make sense of it while retaining most of the story. Of course a lot had to be left out. My partner and our artistic director, John Linden, worked off old footage and recreated lockdown choreography shot in our studio and in and around O’okiep. After it was flighted on the  vNAF 2020, the film was selected by the online Vrystaat Fees with financial assistance from NATI [Die Nasionale Afrikaanse Teater-Inisiatief]. On this festival it received two nominations: Best festival production and Best Online Production. It won Best Online.”

The film has been tagged as a documentary but I would say that it is an art film which mashes up memoir. The armature of the film is Hinkel’s Bolero- first staged in 1976. He is credited as choreographer but as Cape Town dance teacher/choreographer Roxy Levy muses, Alfred Hinkel tends to work collaboratively – more in the capacity as a director – encouraging input from dancers. He is like a conductor –rather than as a choreographer with a fixed dance plot. Hinkel says that he doesn’t expect or want his work to be copied and pasted “to the letter”. On point – or pointe- you will see that when supplying the creative list for Bolero, he states that choreography is “by five generations of Jazzart dancers”. The first version, in 1976,  was he quips, “stilted”. As the years went by, different versions emerged- shaped by the dancers and other factors – venues – and importantly the stories and images that the dancers brought to the haunting and mesmerising music.

Hinkel’s Bolero is a dance set-work for South African learners. Dance is a matric dance subject and learners may choose from a list of SA choreographers. Roxy Levy who is the co-author (with Susan Botha) of the dance text book, Excellent Dance Studies Grade 11 [2014, Cambridge University Press], says that what makes Bolero thrilling to teach is that it is a dance piece which has evolved over time and that makes it exciting for students to study its evolution. It is not only about learning choreography and steps but about engaging with the piece and its trajectory over 45 years, on the boards. So, the film, featuring Bolero, made on site, in the landscape of Okiep, during 2020 lockdown has made way for the naming of Bolero as -Die Dans Van My Heenkoms version. It has opened up students’ eyes to the possibility of performing dance on-site- rather than in a theatre. On-site is very much part of Garage Ensemble’s work. The company works extensively in the town and surrounds. For Garage Ensemble, the online screening of the film,Die Dans Van My Heenkoms, now in 2021, is an opportunity to raise funds to make Bolero accessible for learners and to update text books and learning aides and resources for teachers [such as master classes]6– at no cost. As funding for new set-works is unavailable from the Department of Education at this time,  Garage Ensemble is making a plan and making it happen.  Roxy Levy is currently in the process of updating Bolero – the Die Dans Van My Heenkoms version as a new set-work for learners to study.  The new Bolero “will go out as an e-book as well as an addendum and will be made accessible to every educator,” explains Levy. A review of this extraordinary film will follow soon on TheCapeRobyn.

Lynette Du Plessis, dances in the film, Die Dans Van My Heenkoms (The Dance of My Origin), Bolero stories told by Alfred Hinkel. Photo by Dale Davids. The film will be streamed online via Quicket – July 17 to Aug 17, 2021. It will not be geo-locked and may be viewed from anywhere in the world.

Alfred Hinkel – talking in the film, Die Dans Van My Heenkoms (The Dance of My Origin)- a South African Dance Legacy. The film was made for the vNAF [Virtual National Arts Festival] – the 2020 edition of The National Arts Festival [South Africa]. The film was screened online. The film will be screened via Quicket – Jul 17 to Aug 17, 2021. This screenshot by © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen.

Die Dans Van My Heenkoms (The Dance of My Origin)- a South African Dance Legacy- Bolero stories told by Alfred Hinkel
Creative team Choreography: Five generations of Jazzart dancers Music: Bolero by Maurice Ravel Videographers: Vito Hein and Faroll Coetzee Archival and lockdown footage editor: Marquen Carstens
Director of lockdown choreography: John Linden Production manager: Heloine Armstrong Post production: Ruth Smith Narrator/storyteller: Alfred Hinkel Lockdown dancers:  Byron Klassen, Faroll Coetzee, Jaime-Lee Hine, Lynette Du Plessis, Dustin Jannetjies, Christopher Samuels