Untitled (to Ravel's Bolerp)

Music: Bolero by French composer and pianist Maurice Ravel
AA Vita Award for Best Contemporary Choreography, 1990



Namaqualand: 1976 (first version)
The Nico Arena, Artscape Theatre and other venues, Cape Town: Various
University of Durban-Westville, Durban: 1989 (second version)
Dance Umbrella, Johannesburg: 1990 (third version)
Inauguration of President Nelson Mandela, Union Buildings, Pretoria: 1994
Cape Town: 1995 (fourth version, with Capab Ballet Company)
The Playhouse Drama, Durban: February 1997
The Nico Arena, Cape Town: 19 December 2000 to 13 January 2001
(fifth version; named Last Dance)

Bolero is a much loved, signature piece in the Jazzart repertoire and has been performed countless times over the years. Created by Alfred Hinkel in Namaqualand in 1976, it focused on the Immorality Act, and was danced to a blend of local rhythms and the magnificent score by Ravel.

The second version was created in collaboration with John Linden and Dawn Langdown and performed in 1989 at the University of Durban-Westville where artists were boycotting the racially segregated Grahamstown Festival. It caused a political and artistic furore when it was first performed as it used Western classical music, a racially mixed cast, and the juxtaposition of contemporary, classical, African traditional, Indian and pantsula steps. The introduction of gumboots, representing oppression, was a reflection of the turbulent times at that stage.

"They were the shackles that bound not only those being oppressed directly, but also those bound by ignorance," says Alfred.

Over the years, as the situation in South Africa shifted, so did the dance... In 1990, drums were introduced for the first time for Jazzart's award-winning performance at the Dance Umbrella. That version was taken to the Grahamstown Festival in 1992, performed for the last time as a representation of "the struggle". Bolero was reworked for Nelson Mandela's presidential inauguration in 1994. The following year, Veronica Paeper invited Jazzart to collaborate with Capab Dance Company and Bolero was performed to live orchestration for the first time. That version was performed in the season called Last Dance, which was held as a farewell to Sbonakaliso Ndaba, Sifiso Kweyama and Ondine Bello. It featured an all-female cast, making a statement about the strength of women. The piece was also renamed Last Dance as this should have been the last time it was performed.

Costumes have ranged from studio gear in the first version to tie-dyed designs in the last "protest" performance. The collaboration with Capab had a very strong sexual element with dancers dressed in imitation leather skirts, black fishnet tights, suspenders, black bras and metal chains. The skirts were representative of gender equality when both men and women wore them.

It is one of Pact Dance Company's most popular performance pieces, and was updated for them in 1997.

Last Dance was performed again, this time by younger dancers, at Spier Arts Festival in Stellenbosch in 2002. There were 40 dancers from different races, backgrounds and training - the largest cast ever assembled to perform this piece.

It was also performed in 2007 at The Richtersveld Land Settlement Celebration, going full circle by returning to the region where the work was born.