South African Miners’ Lives Set to Dance and Music
Twelve performers from South Africa have developed an original song and dance show, Gumboots, that played in March at the Pantages Theatre in Toronto.
The 90-minute, non-stop program features 19 innovative numbers that incorporate rousing, traditional a capella singing and the beat of a contemporary, percussive band. The gumboot dancing in the show is a unique, working class art form that originated in the mines of South Africa in the 19th century. As mineworkers were forbidden to speak, they created their own means of communication by slapping their Wellington boots which protected them in the wet mines. When combined with traditional rhythms this communication became a new form of entertainment.
The show is set around a mine hoist, with the constant dripping of water reminiscent of being underground. The loneliness of migrant workers is clearly expressed, but on the whole Gumboots is highly uplifting. Through their energy and enthusiasm, this group of young men has bridged cultural gaps in a way that no speech could do. For tour information contact The Marketing Group in New York at Tel. 212-302-2033.