South Africa >> Namibia
Garage Dance Ensemble is a company based in O’Kiep in the Northern Cape led by Alfred Hinkel. The company was set to perform a touring dance theatre production (Krummelpap, Afval en Sunlightseepbaddens) and present master classes at the Windhoek International Dance Festival in Namibia in May 2020. With the cancellation of the festival and prolonged travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, Garage has reconceptualised the project along digital channels while maintaining the core intention of promoting transnational collaboration. The new format will see Garage create a series of detailed instructional training videos that respond to the unique needs of the three Namibian dance educators connected with the project.
Garage is working with the following three dance teachers in the Windhoek dance fraternity: Philippe Talavera (Founding Artistic Director – Ombetja Yehinga Organisation); Nikhita Winkler (Director – Nikhita Winkler Dance Theatre. Dancer. Choreographer. Social Entrepreneur); and Trixie Munyama (Dance Studies Lecturer – College of the Arts Namibia. Artistic Director – WIDF. Movement Performer. Choreographer. Facilitator).
Over the past few months, Garage has been engaged in in-depth discussions with the Namibian partners, who have identified the need for guidance in a number of fields, particularly with regards to dance training, since they seem to be facing the same issues that Alfred faced in Namaqualand and Windhoek in the 1970s.
These issues mainly include the challenges of training dancers that have natural ability, but whose socio-cultural background clash with what is considered normal in the Eurocentric dance training milieu – which largely has to do with body shape. Garage has found a way to address and solve these challenges with a unique training methodology. This ‘best practice’ approach has long shifted the goal posts and is able to, with training, produce technically strong dancers.
Alfred says that this skills-sharing exchange will lay the groundwork for long term collaboration between Garage and the Namibian partners. He says: “Our vision is to strengthen these interactions over a period of time and to build a permanent creative exchange programme. After the Covid-19 pandemic is over, reciprocal visits for training and sharing could be a possibility.”
Watch a preview for the masterclass videos here.