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Riel Dance

Born out of traditional Khoi and San ceremonial dances around the fire, the Riel Dance has been practiced by descendants of these indigenous cultures for many years.

Recognised as a form of cultural expression, Riel dances include courtship rituals, and mimicking typical animal antics along with lots of bravado, showmanship and foot stomping in traditional outfits.

History of 'Die Nuwe GrasKoue Trappers'

'Die Nuwe GrasKoue Trappers' riel dance troupe was born in 2012 when Bushmans Kloof chef Floris Smith made one of his frequent visits to the nearby village of Wupperthal, and spotted a group of youngsters dancing the Riel. An ex-professional dancer, he was blown away by their energetic performance, and set about offering his assistance to choreograph and train the group.

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17 youngsters from one of his prized Riel troupes have since blazed a triumphant trail to the World Championships. Floris had his eye on the global stage right from the beginning. ‘I just knew that we had something very unique to show the world’, he says.

Journey to the 2015 World Championships

Leading the Riel Renaissance...

From humble beginnings in the remote, impoverished village of Wupperthal, choreographer, manager and coach Floris Smith and his phenomenal 'Trappers' have taken the Riel dance scene by storm, winning award after award.

They made their winning debut on the national stage in SA when they were crowned as the Junior ATKV Riel Dance Champions in 2013, going on to win the top spot in the under-18 category in 2014. That year Floris was awarded the trophy for Most Dynamic Leader in the ATKV Riel Dance finals. They won the GRAND CHAMPION AWARD for 'Best Group Performance', as well as the GOLD medal in the 'Ethnic Folk Dance' category in the South African Championships of the Performing Arts 2014, which qualified them to represent South Africa at the World Championships of the Performing Arts in 2015.

They returned triumphantly from Los Angeles as national heroes, after having danced their way to victory - bringing back the Gold in the Ethnic Folk Dance category, and scooping no less than three Gold medals and one Silver, and outing of South Africa's oldest indigenous ethnic folk dances firmly on the global map.

List of Medals

The Troupe

GOLD MEDAL in the Ethnic Folk Dance Category with Riel Dancing
FINALIST AWARD, 1 out of 3 overall dance groups in the running for Grand Champion Dance Group of the World Award and Performed at the Gala Event
GOLD MEDAL in the Open Dance Category with Riel Tap as well as the Division Winner Trophy for the Open Category
GOLD MEDAL in the Tap Dance category
SILVER MEDAL in the Open Dance Category with Gumboot Dancing

The Band

SILVER MEDAL in the Instrumental Open Category
SILVER MEDAL in the instrumental Jazz Category
SILVER MEDAL in the instrumental Original Category
BRONZE MEDAL in the instrumental Open Trio category

Efraum Kotze (for Guitar Solos)

SILVER MEDAL in the instrumental Open Category
SILVER MEDAL in the instrumental Original Category
BRONZE MEDAL in the instrumental Jazz Category