Riel dancing: Rooibos Ltd co-sponsors Nuwe Graskoue Trappers' USA trip
This riel dance group from the remote Cederberg village of Wupperthal will soon be flying to the USA where they will be representing South Africa at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, between 10 and 18 July 2015. The group consists of 17 talented youngsters, aged between 13 and 19 years, who recently danced their way to victory at the SA Championships of Performing Arts for the second consecutive year.
Bushmans Kloof deputy general manager and executive chef, Floris Smith, is the creative force behind the success of the group. A trained dancer and choreographer himself, he devotes his spare time to train and choreograph his 'Trappers', with whom he has been working since 2012.
Born out of traditional Khoi and San ceremonial dances around the fire, the Riel Dance has been practised by descendants of these indigenous cultures for many years. Riel dancers are dressed typically in traditional farm workers' outfits, the girls in dresses with aprons and old frontier bonnets, and the boys in waistcoats and hats adorned with feathers, finished with the famous, hand-made red 'veldskoene' (shoes) from Wupperthal. This traditional dance form is recognised as a creative cultural expression, telling stories of courtship, animal antics, hunting and more.
At the recent South African Performing Arts Championships in Rustenburg, Die Bushmans Kloof Nuwe Graskoue Trappers walked away with the Grand Champion Award for Best Group Performance, also having won in three categories: the Ethnic Folk category dancing Riel, the Open Large Group for their Riel Tap routine, and the Open Small Group for their Gumboot routine. Their equally talented Riel band, who will be accompanying the dancers to America, won the Overall Trophy Award in the Original Category and took the Gold Medal in both the Open and Original categories.
Rooibos Ltd sponsored the transport of the group to the championships.
Apart from Bushmans Kloof and its owners (the Tollman Family) and Rooibos Ltd, other major sponsors include WESGRO and Reagola IT Management. The $100 000 (R1.2 million) needed to finance the trip to the USA is being raised via YouCaring.com, an online crowdfunding platform that offers a simple and secure way to donate.