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Arts and culture

Grade 6

Creating, interpreting and performing

Module 15

Dance: the gumboot dance

Activity 1:

To improvise and create dances from south africa: the gumboot dance

[lo 1.2]


Gumboot dancing was created in the gold mines during the days of South Africa’s apartheid era. Wearing gumboots in the mines, the workers developed an exuberant and very physical dance form during their breaks, with hints of German country dances, native Zulu movements and western influences

The miners were forbidden to speak in the mines and as a result created a means of communication, essentially their own unique form of Morse code. By slapping their gumboots and rattling their ankle chains the workers sent messages to each other.

The music :

  • Refer to Grade 6 Module 4: Music.

The costume :

  • Wear tracksuit pants to protect your legs against slapping when performing the dance steps.
  • A pair of gumboots that reaches three-quarters of the way up to the knee.
  • Two or three pairs of socks under the boots to protect the ankles.

The posture :

  • Slight bent position – sitting position.

The introductory step :

  • Upper body straight and still.
  • Legs swing from side to side.

The sweeping step :

  • Take one foot back and brush the floor when bringing the leg back to the starting position.
  • Change legs.

The side-slap of the boot :

  • Lift one leg slightly to the side – bend knee slightly – bend body slightly forward.
  • Slap side of boot as the leg comes up.
  • Bring leg down and straighten body.

These steps are the foundation dance steps .

The attention sequence

  • Recap the foundation dance steps.
  • Focus on side-slap of the boot.
  • Perform the attention sequence, dividing it up into three stages:
  • the right movement
  • the right-left movement
  • the one-attention! two-attention! sequence
  • Refer to the dance transcription of the attention sequence.
  • Repeat the sequence many times.

Transcription of the attention sequence:

  • Right foot stamp on the ground.
  • Left foot stamp on the ground.
  • Right hand slap the right boot – foot lifted off the ground.
  • Boots together.
  • Clap in front of the body.
  • Right foot stamp on the ground.
  • Left foot stamp on the ground.
  • Both feet stamp on the ground.
  • Left hand hits left boot (foot on the ground).
  • Right hand hits right boot (foot on the ground).
  • Right hand slap on the right boot (foot raised off the ground).
  • Left hand slap on the boot (foot raised off the ground).
  • Boots together.
  • Left and right boots move towards each other.
  • Right hand slap, then left hand slap on left boot (raised off the ground).
  • Right hand slap, then left hand slap on the right boot (raised off the ground).
  • Left boot kicks right boot.
  • Right boot kicks left boot.
  • Left boot swings towards right boot.
  • Right boot (raised off the ground) hit on the inside with left hand.
  • Left boot (raised off ground) hit on inside with right hand.
  • Clap in front of body.
  • Right hand moves up towards forehead as if holding a cap.
  • Right hand down by side.

Repeat sequence.

Activity 2:

To cool down and stretch the muscles after the execution of the activities

[lo 1.3]

  • It is important for the muscles used during the activities to be stretched and the learners to be cooled down in order for them to function in the other classes. Muscles contract during exercise and dance, creating lactic acid build-up. If the muscles are not stretched and lengthened after the exercise, the lactic acid build-up will cause “stiffness” and sore muscles, lasting up to three days. With stretching, lactic acid is distributed through the muscles and absorbed into the body.

Choose music with a slow tempo (between 84bpm and 125bpm). Ballads work very well.

  • Lie on your back on the floor – arms above your head – legs straight.
  • Lengthen your body by reaching with your arms and pointing your toes. (hold stretch for eight counts and release).
  • Bring arms to your sides.
  • Bend your knees keeping your feet on the floor.
  • Bring one leg onto your chest – grab the leg with both hands and pull toward your body. Hold for eight counts.
  • Straighten the bent knee and pull leg towards your head (do not force the stretch). Hold for eight counts.
  • Change legs.
  • Bend both legs at the knee and bring both legs in to your body and hug your legs – lift your head and shoulders slightly off the floor. Hold for eight counts.
  • Straighten both legs – hands behind your knees – flex your feet – slowly pull straight legs towards you until you feel the stretch at the back of your legs (hamstrings) – hold stretch for eight counts.
  • Open your legs – keep legs straight – push your legs down with your hands until you feel the stretch in your inner thighs – hold stretch for eight counts.
  • Drop knees to the left side – keep upper body and shoulders on the floor – arms stretched to the sides.

  • Change sides.
  • Return legs to centre – sit up – knees bent – hands on knees – straighten your back – pull your body through your legs with your hands on your knees.
  • Slowly get up onto your feet by lifting your buttocks off the floor.
  • Slowly curl up – keeping knees bent – head up last.
  • Shake all moveable body parts.
  • All stretches should be held for eight counts/beats.
  • The cool-down should not be less than three minutes or more than five minutes
  • All stretches should be done slowly to avoid injury.


Learning Outcomes(LOs)
LO 1
CREATING, INTERPRETING AND PRESENTING The learner will be able to create, interpret and present work in each of the art forms.
Assessment Standards(ASs)
We know this when the learner:
1.1 in preparing the body, demonstrates increasing skill and understanding of warming up, including:
  • the development of spinal flexibility and strength;
  • the controlled and relaxed use of the joints, especially the knees, hips and ankles;
1.2 improvises and creates dance sequences that use:
  • steps and styles from various South African dance forms;
  • costumes, props, imagery and music;
  • varying use of energy such as tension and relaxation, stillness and flow;
  • personal and general space;
1.3 learns, interprets and performs dances from South African culture with competence and appropriate style;

Questions & Answers

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Maira Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Arts and culture grade 6. OpenStax CNX. Sep 08, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11007/1.1
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