Dance As Change

John Linden & Alfred Hinkel transforming lives step by step

There is always only the journey. This one starts when a Khoisan rugby player John Linden meets a white ballet dancer Alfred Hinkel on the Namaqualand copper belt. Together they sidestep the norms of a place obsessed with race and begin a dance revolution. Docuville, the documentary slot on SABC 3, recently began a mini-series called Striking A Chord. Through the lives of iconic South Africans four one-hour films help us understand who we are as a nation. This Sunday the third in the series will be broadcast. Dance As Change is a film by Eugene Paramoer.

After both triumph and disaster, choreographer John Linden and Alfred Hinkel return to the little town of Okiep where they were born because that’s the only place they can save their souls by fulfilling their lifelong mission to transform society through the magic of dance…

“The process we’ve developed, the training process and the creative process that we’ve developed over the last couple of decades, specifically seeks to create change.”
Alfred Hinkel, Choreographer and founder of Jazzart.

The migration often happens in one direction only. From the rural areas to the city. John Linden, Jazzart Co Founder and Alfred Hinkel made that journey but then they returned to their place of origin … Namaqualand.

The film explores John and Alfred’s memories and their journey. It also delves into the notion of dance as memory.

Their creative processes have started a dance revolution in South Africa. Their work emphasises memory stories. John for example inhabited the body of ancient warrior, storyteller //Kabbo Jantjie Tooren. As part of jazzart’s radical education work in the 80s, the pair used dance as a way to tell ancient stories of struggle and resistance.

John and Alfred’s work, as seen with their performances in Namaqualand, engages with their community who participates on stage. The system of work they’ve developed, emphasises that everyone can dance and express himself or herself and that it is not an elite form of expression performed on secluded theatre stages.

At the heart of the creative vision for this film is this idea articulated by Alfred Hinkel. The idea that dance, movement and the body affects the entire being. That dance is able to facilitate change and transformation of the human being, of community and of society. This idea of dance as change has guided the story creating process, story form, story content and creative treatment.

Dance As Change is part of the VIA – Vision In Africa Striking A Chord mini-series that is running for the month of May on SABC 3’s Docuville slot. The Dance episode is the third in the series on Sunday 17 May at 7.30 pm.

The series is directed by Sylvia Vollenhoven, Basil Appollis and Eugene Paramoer. Jacky Lourens is the Producer. It includes the stories of playwright Athol Fugard, singer Emo Adams as well as former Idol’s winner Karin Kortje.

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