The West Coast Premiere Of Step Afrika's DRUMFOLK Announced At The Soraya
Step Afrika!'s high energy, full-bodied percussive dance returns to The Soraya for the West Coast premiere of Drumfolk, the Company's 25th Anniversary production now on tour. Inspired by the Stono Rebellion of 1739, Drumfolk explores this little-known event in history that would forever transform African American life and culture. When Africans lost the right to use their drums, the beats found their way into the body of the people, the Drumfolk. New percussive forms took root leading to the development of some of our country's most distinct performance traditions like ring shout, tap, and stepping.Drumfolk will feature special guest DJ producer Taylor McFerrin on Sunday, February 23 at 3:00pm. Tickets start at $36 and can be purchased at The Soraya, (818) 677-3000 and online at TheSoraya.org.
About Drumfolk"Drumfolk is the second work by Step Afrika! that celebrates and chronicles the African-American experience in America," said C. Brian Williams, Founder and Executive Director of Step Afrika!. "This new production is grounded in extensive research and over 25 years of Step Afrika!'s percussive practice and investigation into the tradition of stepping. We're thrilled to be sharing it with our audiences." Drumfolk takes audiences on a journey from the 17th century, when the African drum found itself in the then-colony of South Carolina, to present-day America, where the instrument has shaped new art forms like hip hop and African-American social dance. Highlights include: Step Afrika!'s first presentation of dance and drumming traditions from Angola; an exploration of the ring shout, which is a 200+ year-old African American dance rarely seen on our country's stages; a contemporary routine of stepping and vocal percussion to demonstrate the drum's influence on other mediums; and an appearance by special guest Taylor McFerrin in select numbers. A seminal addition to Step Afrika!'s dance canon, Drumfolk is inspired by the Stono Rebellion of 1739 - an uprising of 20 enslaved Africans from Angola, who used their drums to start a revolt in South Carolina. Although the rebellion was suppressed, this little-known event in American history forever changed African-American life and culture. When Africans lost the right to use their drums through The Negro Act of 1740, they began to use their bodies as percussive instruments in response. This act of survival and activism earned them the name of "Drumfolk," as coined by famed folklorist Bessie Jones, and their percussive movement gave rise to some of the country's most distinctive art forms, including the ring shout, tap, hambone and stepping. Step Afrika!'s Drumfolk explores this pivotal moment in history and honors the succeeding cultural evolution. The work is a celebration of human will and perseverance.