August 23, 2016 4:30PM
Step Afrika! is the first professional dance company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping, will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. Tickets for the performance, sponsored by the Gorilla Activities Board, are $5 for faculty, staff and the public. PSU students may obtain a free ticket until 4 p.m. on Sept. 13 at the PSU Ticket Office.
Stepping is based on a long tradition in African-based communities that uses movement, words and sounds to communicate allegiance to a group. It draws movements from African foot dances, such as Gumboot, originally conceived by miners in South Africa as an alternative to drumming, which was banned by authorities.
Stepping has been featured in movies such as “School Daze,” “Drumline,” and “Stomp the Yard,” and at Bill Clinton’s 1992 inauguration as well as the 1996 Olympic opening ceremony in Atlanta.
The stepping tradition in the U.S. grew out of song and dance rituals practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities, beginning in the early 1900s.
Step Afrika! was formed in 1994 as an exchange program with the Soweto Dance Theatre of Johannesburg, South Africa. Now based in the U.S., Step Afrika! is an international touring company that presents performance, residencies and workshops around the world. Each year, the company performs in 10 countries for more than 50,000 people and touches more than 23,000 young people through its arts education programs.
Step Afrika! founder C. Brian Williams first discovered stepping as a fraternity brother at Howard University. He began to realize its potential as a global art form while in South Africa on a post-graduate fellowship, where he witnessed Gumboot dancing.
For tickets, visit the PSU Ticket Office, 1701 S. Homer, 620-235-4796, www.pittstate.edu/tickets. For more information about Gorilla Activity Board events, visit their website, www.pittstate.edu/office/student-activities/.