An internationally renowned cultural phenomenon and percussion dance troupe will be stepping their way to Edinboro University on Feb. 10 as part of EU’s Performing Arts Series and Black History Month calendar.
Step Afrika!, the first professional dance company dedicated to the tradition of stepping, will take the stage at Louis C. Cole Auditorium for a live performance at 8 p.m. The showcase is sponsored by the Performing Arts Series and Edinboro University’s Student Government Association, University Programming Board and Black Student Union Association.
“Step Afrika does more than dance. They tell a story,” said Edinboro University student Alie Woodward, a graduate assistant with the University Programming Board. “These stories are influenced by their culture and history. By bringing Step Afrika! to campus, we hope our community will take advantage of this opportunity to understand cultures and appreciate these stories.”
Step Afrika! celebrates the origin of stepping, the rhythmic dance form that combines footsteps, clapping and spoken word. Steeped in African history, the sounds from stepping have traditionally been used to communicate an individual’s allegiance to a group.
According to Step Afrika! the movement was originally conceived by miners in South Africa as an alternative to drumming. The tradition started to grow in the U.S. in African-American fraternities and sororities in the early 20th Century. Founded in 1994 as an exchange program with the Soweto Dance Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa, the company kicks off the spring Performing Arts Series and coincides with Black History Month events.
“I believe Step Afrika! is a necessary event to bring to Edinboro University, because it can and will showcase the many cultural and historical aspects of African stepping,” said Caleb Richardson III, a graduate assistant in EU’s Performing Arts Series.
Step Afrika! kicks off a three-month season of entertaining and cultural events through EU’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and Performing Arts Series. Scheduled events include:
Over the past 19 years Step Afrika! has grown to become one of the top African-American dance companies in the U.S. and the largest African-American arts organization in Washington, D.C. Step Afrika! has performed in 10 countries for more than 50,000 people through its touring schedule and arts-education program. The troupe introduces youth from all backgrounds to the dance genre while emphasizing teamwork, discipline and commitment.
“The art of dance plays a huge role in the African way of life,” said Anjali Wright, vice president of procedure for EU’s Student Government Association. “I think that Step Afrika! will bring a better understanding and appreciation of African culture to the Edinboro community.”
Step Afrika! is open to all audiences. Tickets will be available for $5 at the door. For more information about the performance or EU’s Performing Arts Series, contact Pertrina Marrero at firstname.lastname@example.org.