• Wupperthal BK Riel Family

Wupperthal BK Riel Family

It is with great pleasure that we share the exciting wins recently awarded to the amazing South African Riel dance troupe called “Wupperthal BK Riel Family”, to which our family have provided financial support over the past several years. Included below are the details as described by Floris Smith, Executive Chef at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, as well as the Head Dance Leader.

Floris’ win of the Dorothy Bloch Trophy for Most Dynamic Riel Dance Leader 2014 (2nd in a row), along with each of their categorical wins are detailed below. Please take a moment to read about their accomplishments and join me in congratulating them!

Included are photos of their different age groups performing and receiving their well-deserved awards.

All the best,


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The Nama Riel dance, which is undergoing a massive revival in the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces of South Africa, is a dance-descendant of the old Khoi and San fireside rituals and it became the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ of sheep shearers and farm workers across the Kalahari and Great Karoo over many generations. Nowadays, many schools in the Western Cape offer Riel dancing training to their pupils. And there are festivals all over the provinces where they can strut their stuff and compete against Riel dancers from other areas. For more info, visit this South African Tourism web site.

“The Riel dance project Wupperthal BK Riel Family has been trailblazing its way across the Riel Dance scene. The project started in the latter part of 2012. Known as Die NuweGraskoue Trappers, the troupe was made up of two groups of talented young people from neighbouring Wupperthal. The name of the troupe is an acronym for the names of some of the villages that the children come from: Nuwe Plaas, Grasvlei, Koueberg, Suurrug and AgtersteVlei. The troupe has since come on leaps and bounds, leading to the incredible success in 2014 where they were joined by some newly formed troupes – under 12 year, one for under 18 years old, and three senior groups.

The troupe made their debut with much success at the annual Riel Dance Championship final in December 2013, where Die Nuwe Graskoue Trappers became the ATKV Junior Riel Dance Champions 2013. In the Senior Category Suurrug Suur Trapper walked away with Silver and Grasvlei Gras Trappers with the Trophy for Most Promising Group 2013.

Cindy from the Suurrug Suur Trappers received the Trophy for Female Riel Personality 2013 in the Senior Category and Bertie Zass the Trophy for Best Musician on a Traditional instrument. Floris came home with the Trophy for Most Dynamic Riel Dance Leader 2013.

In April 2014 Die Nuwe Graskoue Trappers walked away with the Grand Champion Award for Best Group Performance, as well as the Gold medal in the ‘Ethnic Folk Dance Category’ at the South African Championships of the Performing Arts 2014. The troupe’s equally talented Band took the Gold medal in the ‘Open’ as well as the ‘Original categories’, and also won the Overall Trophy Award in the ‘Original Category’.

2014 has been a very rewarding year. The project grew to a total of seven groups. Five of the seven groups made it to the Final of the 2014 Annual ATKV Riel Dance Championships. The BK Stof Skoppertjies was crowned the first ever under 12 Riel Dance Champions, they are all kids from Bushmans Kloof Staff Village. Die Nuwe Graskoue Trappers (Wupperthal) defended their title for a second year in a row in the under 18 Junior category with great success. Wuppertha also took the trophy in the Senior Category with the Suurrug Suur Trappers. First time in the existence of the Championship that all three trophies have been awarded to a region / project or team.”

We are very pleased and excited to now have these local champions have the opportunity to compete on the global stage, at the World Championships of dance, to be held in Los Angeles in July 2015. We are all very appreciative of the Tollman family providing additional financial support to help ensure we can bring the troupes to LA next summer – for all of these kids, it will be their first trip out of South Africa as well. To say we are “beyond excited” is a true understatement! Thank you all for your interest and support.” Floris Smith