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FROM THE BLOG

DANCING THROUGH HISTORY


Step Afrika

With The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence‘s Boston run approaching quickly, dance is on the forefront of everyone’s mind here at ArtsEmerson, especially all the different styles of the art form that appear in Step Afrika’s! thrilling production. Because The Migration incorporates a variety of these disciplines, we’ve created a crash course to get you up to speed on three of the most prevalent dance-styles you’ll marvel at when you attend this show.

The South African Gumboot Dance Perhaps the most recognizable dance in the show, the gumboot dance originated during apartheid-era South Africa. The dance gets its name from the thick rubber rain boots (think modern day Hunter Boots) known as “gumboots” or “wellingtons” worn by migrant laborers who were employed in diamond and coal mines. The apartheid government enacted laws that restricted these workers from speaking to one another, so they developed their own means of communication: using the sounds and stomps of their gumboots as a form of morse-code. The movement eventually transformed into a dance, which became particularly popular during the fight against apartheid and even became a protest symbol.

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ArtsEmerson Leadership Photo“ArtsEmerson puts the world on stage and screen to help us understand our world, celebrate our place in it, and explore how we each can contribute to its transformation. We are passionately committed to delivering exceptional experiences for our audiences and operate from the belief that the arts belong to everyone. We invite you to come with us to places you have not been and share experiences you could not anticipate but will never forget. And, if you are so inclined, to engage with a room full of fellow travelers (who are your neighbors) to sort it all out. Let us begin to rediscover our community through the shared experience of art and conversation.”

– ArtsEmerson Leadership Team