STEP AFRIKA! To Host 30th Anniversary Gala In June

The gala features performances by the talented members of Step Afrika!, as well as guest artists from around the world.

By: May. 28, 2024
STEP AFRIKA! To Host 30th Anniversary Gala In June
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Step Afrika!'s annual gala is a celebration of dance, culture, and community. Founded in 1994, Step Afrika! is the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping—a unique form of percussive dance that originated in African American fraternities and sororities.

The gala typically features performances by the talented members of Step Afrika!, as well as guest artists from around the world. It's not just a showcase of incredible dance skills; it's also a fundraiser to support Step Afrika!'s educational programs, which bring the art of stepping to schools and communities, inspiring and empowering young people through dance. 

 "I am deeply honored to serve as the 30th Anniversary Gala Chair! Financial support from key supporters and friends at this year's gala ensures Step Afrika! will continue to educate youth and entertain audiences across the globe–leaving an enduring legacy through the transformative power of storytelling and dance." - Brandon T. Todd, Step Afrika! 30th Anniversary Gala Chair.

The annual gala is a highlight of the year for both supporters of the arts and enthusiasts of African American culture. Funds raised at this year's 30th anniversary gala will not only support Step Afrika's efforts stateside, but will support a number of artistic collaborations, workshops and performances throughout their 2-week tour of South Africa in August 2024. This year's return to Soweto, Johannesburg, will be in celebration of the country's 30th independence anniversary and a return to the genesis of the organization - the International Cultural Festival which began in December 1994.

"I am filled with deep gratitude, reflecting on the extraordinary moments that have shaped the last three decades of Step Afrika! So many amazing people have been a part of this artistic journey, and together, we have built an arts organization that has touched hundreds of thousands across the globe. This year, our milestone 30th anniversary gala will acknowledge and celebrate the collaborative spirit that defines Step Afrika! and the traditions we honor." - C. Brian Williams, Founder and Executive Producer, Step Afrika!

Step Afrika!'s 30th Anniversary Gala performances will honor three decades of dedication to South African Zulu and Gumboot dances, as well as the rich African American tradition of stepping. Guests will be treated to a special performance of the “Wade Suite” from the company's acclaimed production, “The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence,” featuring Grammy-award winning gospel legend, Smokie Norful. This dynamic piece recounts the monumental Great Migration, showcasing the journey of millions of African Americans fleeing racial oppression in the 1900s. Drawing inspiration from Jacob Lawrence's iconic “The Migration Series,” Step Afrika! seamlessly blends pulsating rhythms and visually stunning movement to bring this historic narrative to life. For the first time, the company has been granted permission to incorporate images from both the even and odd panels of Lawrence's series, elevating the performance to new heights. Extraordinary support from Reg Brown and Tiffeny Sanchez, have made this monumental production possible at Arena Stage.  The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence open to the public on Friday, June 7, 2024.

About Step Afrika!

Step Afrika!, the world's first professional Company dedicated to the African American tradition of stepping, was founded in December 1994, by C. Brian Williams. Williams was an accomplished stepper who recognized the connections between stepping and African percussive traditions. The creation of Step Afrika! in partnership with South African and American artists, allowed Williams to explore this connection between stepping and African percussive traditions. Stepping, a percussive dance form, originated within African American fraternities and sororities on US college campuses in the early 1900's. This unique art form combines elements such as stomping, clapping, and spoken word chants or songs, often involving intricate rhythms and synchronized movements. These movements are choreographed and feature detailed footwork, handclaps, and body percussion. Over time, stepping has transcended its collegiate origins, capturing the hearts of a wider audience. It has evolved into a recognized professional art form and a competitive activity, with national and international competitions as regular highlights. In this evolutionary journey, Step Afrika! has played a pioneering role, elevating stepping from college campuses to grand stages of the world.

Step Afrika!'s mission is to preserve, expand and promote an appreciation for stepping through professional performances and to educate, motivate and inspire young people in and out of school through arts education programs that emphasize teamwork, commitment, and discipline 

Today, Step Afrika! honors that mission with a touring Company of 18 full-time artists, recognized worldwide for its engaging performances and innovative arts education programs. The company is one of the top 10 U.S. African American dance companies and D.C.'s largest African American arts organization.


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