Song & Dance

Across Africa, music and dance tells stories, shares emotions, and creates connections.

Some traditional South African dances have been practiced for hundreds of years. These dances encouraged bravery during a hunt and other dances celebrated weddings.

Today, I watch a traditional Zulu warrior dance. With drums pounding and feet stomping, I imagine young Zulu warriors of the past preparing to head into battle.

Later in Johannesburg, I am invited to a modern dance company’s rehearsal. The dancers are trained in many different styles: jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and traditional African dances. These dances mix together to create a style called Afro Fusion.

The gumboot dancing is my favorite. Gumboot dancing started in gold mines in southern Africa during the early 19th century. Working in dark conditions, mine workers were forbidden to speak on the job. So, they created a way to communicate using their bodies as instruments. By stomping their feet and slapping their rubber gumboots, they could share messages.