On Wednesday, 22 April 2015, Pippa Hudson took some time to pay tribute to Christopher Kindo, a South African dance icon and inspiration, who sadly passed away on Monday, 20 April 2015 after a battle with oesophagal cancer.
To give you a bit of background, as to Christopher Kindo’s life – he was born in 1955, and grew up in Simonstown, but his family was moved to Ocean View under the Group Areas Act and their family home demolished. They got their land back through restitution in 2003 and Kindo’s brother Percy rebuilt their home.
Kindo started dancing at the age of nine. Straight after high school he joined the UCT Ballet School and studied for the three-year Performer’s Diploma in ballet. As a dancer who was classified coloured, this was difficult, as it was illegal at the time.
After three years some white students got work immediately, with the Cape Performing Arts Board (or Capab) but Kindo did not. He wrote to the government in protest. But at the same time he was offered a scholarship with the Boston Ballet Company.
At first, according to an interview conducted with him last year, he hesitated, as he wanted to be Capab’s first coloured dancer; however, when nine months passed without any definite, positive answer from the government, he decided to leave South Africa and to join the Boston Ballet.
Although the Boston Ballet company offered him a contract, Kindo decided to come back to Cape Town in 1980, after only a year aboard.
During his absence things had changed a little in South Africa.
Theatres had been desegregated and Capab was now allowed to offer him a contract. But at first he refused it. Instead, he became a founder of Jazzart - the first contemporary dance company in the country. This allowed him the opportunity to really start his career as a choreographer, switching from jazz to classical ballet and finally accepting work with Capab.
The rest as they say his history, Kindo went on to do transform and inspire a dance generation in South Africa.
He won various awards including the 1991 FNB Vita award for Best Male Dancer. And also did work as a consultant for the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town, was a committee member of the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees and as of January 2008, was a judge on kykNET's reality dance competition Dans! Dans! Dans!
At the end of his life, he was doing work as a dance teacher and choreographer for Dance For All, an upliftment, which teaches dance in to disadvantaged children in Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Nyanga.
Last year, when his cancer starting becoming worse, he had to stop teaching, and moved back to his old childhood home in Simonstown with his brother and sister-in-law.
Listen to the tribute here
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