Step Afrika! USA

WISH LIST: $100: classroom demonstration for 10 students; $500: stepping performances for 2 classes; $1000: a full performance for an entire school

When a young graduate of Howard University traveled to Africa in 1991, he came across the gumboot dance. Created by South African mineworkers, it bore a strong resemblance to the stepping he had learned in his college fraternity. He later met members of the Soweto Dance Theatre, and the Step Afrika International Cultural Festival was born the first known attempt to link the two forms of dance. Today Step Afrika! is the only national company exploring this cultural connection, in performances at home and abroad. Locally, there is a double focus: performance and arts education. Interactive workshops and artists residencies teach the history of stepping as an American art form (the body is used as an instrument to create rhythms and sounds that combine with footsteps, claps, and spoken word) and emphasize the synergy between stepping, teamwork, discipline, hard work, and academic success. Designated the first Cultural Ambassador for Washington, DC, and winner of the Mayors Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to the field, Step Afrika! truly is the rhythm of Washington.