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The Best in Dance at the Baxter Festival

The 2016 Baxter Dance Festival opened with the 40th anniversary revival of Alfred Hinkel’s Bolero and John Linden’s Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking.

65 choreographic works and a wide variety of genres and styles were on this year’s line-up of the 2016 Baxter Dance Festival.

Hinkel’s Bolero received critical acclaim over the years. The work has featured dancers such as Dawn Langdon, John Linden, Jay Pather, Sifiso Kweyama, Heinrich Reisenhofer, Balu Searle, Ananda Fuchs and Sbonakaliso Ndana to mention just a few. This latest revival was presented by Garage Dance Ensemble with guest performers Levern Botha and Ciara Barron.

Independent dance-makers, choreographers, dancers and teachers, descended on the Baxter for 10 days, presenting a diverse and dynamic line-up. The festival catered for all tastes, ranging from contemporary, modern and classical to flamenco, tap and traditional dance forms.

The Baxter Dance Festival continues its success of showcasing some of the best in local dance. This year’s edition included a host of dynamic works by choreographers from other regions and countries such as Okiep in Namaqualand (Alfred Hinkel, John Linden, Byron Klaasen), Johannesburg (Luyanda Sidiya), Canada (Josh Beamish) and Namibia (Hamish Olivier).

12th Annual Baxter Dance Festival
Josh Beamish. Photograph by Erik Zennstrom.

The Main Programme featured over 30 works of various lengths, by established professionals, including choreographers such as:

  • Abeedah Medell
  • Allison Hendricks
  • Bonwa Mbontsi
  • Ashleigh Joubert
  • Tegan Peacock
  • Kitty Phelta
  • Mthuthuzeli November
  • Mziyanda Mancam
  • Simone Marshall
  • Sbonakaliso Ndaba
  • Sifiso Kweyama
  • Ebrahim Medell
  • Thalia Laric
  • Kristina Johnstone
  • Mishkaah Medell

The Off Main programme showcased 17 different works by up-and-coming choreographers (including student choreography). The Fringe programme included 19 works by youth groups, dance studios, school groups and traditional dance groups.

Louise Coetzer’s In C was the 2016 commissioned piece performed by Darkroom Contemporary, in collaboration with music duo Without Eyes.

12th Annual Baxter Dance Festival
Iesu and Tamryn Escalante. Photograph by Oscar O’Ryan.

This year marked the first time that Cape Town City Ballet and well-known choreographer Lindy Raizenberg was on the programme. Other highlights included a work by the late Phyllis Spira (performed by Dance For All) and Mthuthuzeli November who recently joined Ballet Black in the UK.

The Baxter Dance Festival is the perfect environment to experience and see work by established professionals, as well as exciting up-and-coming practitioners. Furthermore, it provides emerging and established dance companies and choreographers with an opportunity to present their work, whilst striving to nurture and promote the diverse dance talent in the Western Cape.

Since its inception in 2004 the festival has left an indelible mark on the performing arts landscape. Just over 800 local choreographers have presented their work, featuring well over 5 000 dancers from more than 500 studios, dance schools, projects and professional companies.

“The festival has helped to shape the lives of aspiring dancers and choreographers, which have, in turn, impacted the local dance landscape positively. I truly hope that this will encourage other sponsors in the private or government sectors to partner with us and become part of the largest dance event in our city.” – Nicolette Moses, artistic director of the Baxter Dance Festival and associate producer and planning manager at the Baxter Theatre Centre.

For more information on the Baxter Theatre, please visit their website.


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