Step Afrika! dancers
The troupe’s program on March 28 features these works:
Tribute – Choreographed by Jakari Sherman – Tribute pays homage to the African American step show. Based on steps and styles seen in step shows across the USA, Tribute expands on stepping’s roots by increasing the length of the step from the traditional 2 minutes to 10 minutes. It combines the distinct stepping styles from different fraternities and sororities and blends them together to showcase the incredible variety of stepping. Tribute includes all the exciting elements found in the step show–the use of props, ripples and floor work, creative formations and audience participation.
Ndlamu – Choreographed by Jackie Semela – Ndlamu is a traditional dance of the Zulu people. For more than 20 years, Step Afrika! has studied the dance form through the Company’s long-standing partnership with the Soweto Dance Theater of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Isicathulo – Choreographed by Jackie Semela – Isicathulo or “the gumboot dance” is a tradition created by South African workers who labored in the oppressive mining industry of then-apartheid South Africa. Isolated from their families for long periods, the miners transformed their rubber boots into percussive instruments to not only entertain but to share secret messages with each other. Isicathulo is one of the most popular dance forms in South Africa and contains striking similarities to the African-American tradition of stepping.
Solo – Choreographed by Christopher Brient
Chicago – Choreographed by Jakari Sherman – Chicago finds the rhythm in everyday situations. It is a percussive symphony using body percussion and up to 5 complex polyrhythms performed simultaneously in order to narrate a percussive dance “story.” Inspired by a summer spent in the Windy City, this ground-breaking work transforms the 100-year old, folkloric tradition of stepping into contemporary performance art.
Over the past 19 years STEP AFRIKA! has grown to become one of the top 10 African-American Dancecompanies in the U.S. and the largest African-American-led arts organization in Washington, D.C. Each year, the company performs in 10 countries for more than 50,000 people and touches 23,000 youth through its arts education programs.