Recently premiered at the 2014 Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Rust Coloured Skirt was given a once-off performance at the Artscape Theatre to raise funds for the treatment of Cape Town dance legend Christopher Kindowho is currently battling a life-threatening illness. A dancer and choreographer at the cutting edge of contemporary dance in South Africa for many years, Christopher Kindo was one of the co-founders of the Jazzart Dance Academy in Cape Town. It was only fitting that the performance started with a video representation of the life work of this renowned individual, adding to the already emotional quality of a packed Artscape Theatre.
Rust Coloured Skirt by Alfred Hinkel’s Garage Productions showcases the autobiographies of four diverse and talented dancers. Although each has their own personal journey they all share one common denominator: a love for the art form of dance.
Alfred Hinkel, Debbie Goodman-Bhyatt, Adelaide Majoor and Byron Klassen shared their personal experiences through solos of movement reflecting pivotal moments in each of their dance careers. Each dancer expressed their thoughts through their own vocabulary and artistic style and, although the choreography was based on four different and personal stories, the structure of the performance craftily interweaved each respective experience. Videos, spotlights and the use of voice-overs added to the narrative in an exceptional method of storytelling that made the performance truly intimate.
This was a highly unusual cast representing an array of generations, but as a collective they gelled impeccably, even revealing through their various ages and experiences just how dance movement and styles have evolved over the decades, from the mature expressive quality of renowned dancer and choreographer Alfred Hinkel’s to the younger performers’ playful yet complex style.
The fact that Alfred Hinkel has retired does not hold back his compelling stage presence and flair. The highlight of the performance was a powerful conversational duet between him and Byron Klassen, in which the two dancers argued with each other through a series of lifts and contact, including some innovative choreography and beautiful images through the use of a chair. Alfred Hinkel’s distinctive style consists of expressive gestures translating a strong emotional quality, and the duet portrayed moments of intense feeling and a comical quality that left the audience smiling.
In the climax of the performance, all the individuals danced together in a soulful combination, before, one by one, the older dancers fell out of the movement leaving the two younger dancers on stage, portraying the inevitable truth of how all dance careers must come to an end.
This was a moving and successful show from Garage Productions, and one that was undoubtedly fitting for this heart-warming fundraiser.
Garage Production’s Rust Coloured Skirt was performed at the Artscape Theatre on 20 July 2014.