Garage Dance Ensemble is located in O’okiep in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. This arid province (one of 11 South African provinces) is the largest in the country (373 km² ) and also the least populated (1.3m).
Along with Springbok, Nababeep, Concordia and Carolusberg, O’okiep lies within a once booming copper district, now long abandoned by the colonising British, the aftermath of which is clearly visible in the abandoned structures and mines, but even more clearly experienced in the grinding poverty and lack of prospects which is the legacy left to many of the indigenous communities.
It is to this environment of abandonment, abysmal inequality, extensive marginalisation and severe economic deficit that John Linden and Alfred Hinkel returned to start Garage Dance Ensemble. Known for their pioneering work as choreographers, social justice activists, teachers and creative visionaries, John and Alfred were both born in the region. Although they have returned intermittently over the years for short periods to initiate and to support creative and cultural projects in the area, their move to O’okiep marks, not only a permanent shift of residence but also a focused application of their belief that through the creative and performing arts we are better able to come to terms with who we are, what we stand for and more effectively share both our singular and collective commonalities in fulfillment of our humanity.
John Linden, Alfred Hinkel and Garage Dance Ensemble are succeeding in demonstrating the redemptive and healing power of the creative and performing arts even in the most desolate of circumstances.
Meet the full staff of the Garage Dance Ensemble
Since 2011 Garage Dance Ensemble has produced several critically acclaimed works and have pioneered collaborations that have led to the interweaving of performance, cultural heritage and identity. Works that have sought to restore pride and confidence in the communities from which their artists, writers and audiences are drawn.
Helping kids to understand themselves and the world they live in
It is our belief that artistic practice can impact on a young mind by improving academic achievement, improving memory, enhancing creativity, improving social skills, improving language and reading skills, enhancing critical thinking skills, building confidence, creating cultural and personal connections and instilling discipline