Gumboot Dancers

Based: Cape Town | Johannesburg | Durban

The gumboot dance (or Isicathulo) is an African Dancethat is performed by dancers wearing Wellington Bootw. In South Africa these are more commonly called gumboots.

The boots may be embellished with bells, so that they ring as the dancers stamp on the ground. This sound would be a code or a different calling to say something to another person a short distance away. It was basically used to communicate in the mines as there was strictly no talking otherwise they would get punished by their boss.

Gumboot dancing was conceived by black miners in South Africa as an alternative to drumming—which authorities restricted. Another reason for gumboot dancing was for the miners in South Africa as they worked they sang. Gumboot dancing has now become a world-known dance; in schools children perform the dance.  The boots were a solution to a problem of often flooded gold mines in which men otherwise stood in knee-deep water toiling at their work stations

 

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