BOK is a uniquely South African re-imagining of Vaslav Nijinsky’s iconic ballet l’Apres-midi d’un Faune (The Afternoon of a Faun). This ballet, which generated much controversy at its début in 1912 because of its erotic innuendos, is a major landmark in dance history. It raised debate around issues of freedom of expression and what should and should not be allowed to be depicted on stage. Aesthetically the work marked a major departure point from classical ballet, and as a result made an important contribution to the conversation about what is and should be considered dance. As South Africa looks back at 20 years of democracy, remembering history and historical landmarks, it seems fitting to draw from the ‘queer’ thread that is woven into Nijinsky’s work as a way to address issues around sexuality, freedom of speech and human rights. Underneath the beauty of the surreal fantasy that is BOK, we see a distorted reflection of contemporary South Africa.

Choreographed by Kristina Johnstone, Cilna Katzke and Steven van Wyk

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