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Step Afrika! to perform at MSU March 1

Morehead State University's Office of Student Activities, Inclusion & Leadership (SAIL) and the Diversity & Inclusion Initiative is proud to present STEP AFRiKA!, on Wednesday, March 1 at 7 p.m. in Button Auditorium. STEP AFRiKA!, is a national touring dance company that performs all over the United States. This highly interactive and electrifying performance is open to the community and admission is free.

With roots in Johannesburg, South Africa, this high-energy dance company has been featured on ABC News and is an official U.S. Cultural Ambassador. Step Afrika! has performed on stages throughout the U.S. and around the world from Madagascar to Morocco. The group also regularly performs on Washington, D.C.’s biggest stages, including the Kennedy Center and in the White House.

Step Afrika! will take you on a journey through dance during its performance, from Chicago jazz dancing to traditional Zulu dancing to South African “gumboot dancing.” The company also has pieces that bring together different musical genres, pay homage to jazz masters Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, and serve as a tribute to the African American step show. The group is known for its interaction during performances, getting audience members up on their feet stomping, clapping, cheering, and taking part in call and response with the artists.

According to C. Brian Williams, founder and executive director of the accomplished dance company: “Step Afrika! transforms the theater into a space where everyone can make music and dance. The world is Step Afrika!’s favorite stage and the company enjoys performing everywhere from opera houses to community centers.”

Step Afrika! performances involve a wide range of dances and costumes that capture African culture. The dancers deliver a performance that awakens all of the senses, using their bodies to stomp, clap, and yell, and using effects such as live musicians and special lighting to connect with their audience.  The Washington Post describes the dancers in Step Afrika! as “electrifying talents.”

Step Afrika! is a charitable organization and the first in the world dedicated to stepping. The organization uses stepping—an art form that is an important part of America’s artistic and cultural heritage—as an educational, motivational, and nurturing tool for young people. They accomplish this through art education activities, international cultural exchange programs, and performances worldwide.

A form of percussive dance, stepping involves using one’s entire body as an instrument. Footsteps, hand claps, and spoken word are combined to create complex rhythms. While stepping is usually performed in groups of three or more people, it can be performed by an individual. This form of dancing began in the early 1900s when African American fraternities and sororities would host song and dance rituals.

After its founding in 1994, Step Afrika! has worked to become one of the top African dance companies in the U.S., and to become Washington, D.C.’s largest African American arts organization. Each year, Step Afrika! visits more than 50 U.S. and Canadian cities as a part of its North American tour.

For more information about Step Afrika!, visit their website. For more information on the performance at MSU, please email Deion Dornal at dadornal@moreheadstate.edu.