FROM THE BLOG
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.