Feminist Gumbooting Troupe

From NB RebELLEs


Nov 12th, 8pm 

RAWA Fundraiser

NB Rebelles Gumboot Troupe
Kaylee Hopkins
Andrea Gibson
in the SUB Ballroom


Gumbooting Performance at the 3rd Annual RAWA Benefit March 2009

Gumboot Video 1  

Gumboot Video 2

The Feminist Gumboot Troupe is open to anyone who wants to join.


written by Michelle Leblanc

Gumboot dancing was born in the gold mines of South Africa.  The mine workers were not free to move around at will and were separated from their families for long periods of time.  At best, working in the mines was a long, hard, repetitive toil.  At worst, the men would be taken chained into the mines and shackled at their work stations in almost total darkness.

The floors of the mines were often flooded, due to poor or non-existent drainage.  For the miners, hours of standing up to their knees in infected waters brought on skin ulcers, foot problems, and disease - and consequently lost work time.  The mining bosses discovered that providing gumboots to the workers was cheaper than attempting to drain the mines.

So this created the miners uniform: heavy black Wellington boots, jeans, bare chest and bandannas to absorb eye-stinging sweat.

The workers were forbidden to speak, and as a result created their own means of communication.  By slapping their gumboots and rattling their ankle chains, the enslaved workers sent messages to each other in the darkness.  From this also came a form of entertainment, as the miners evolved their percussive sounds and movements into a unique dance form, using it to amuse each other during their free time.

The New Brunswick Rebelles - Fredericton, a feminist group of students and young professionals, formed a gumbooting troupe after being inspired by a feminist gumboot performance in Montreal at the Waves of Resistance Conference in October of 2008.

Gumbooting has been chosen by us as an empowering style of dance, especially appropriate for an embrace by feminists because of its origin in oppressed populations and its powerful history of use as a tool of communication.

Want to join?  E-mail us at nbrebelles@gmail.com