Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College continues its 2016-17 season with the much-anticipated return of Step Afrika! on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 8 pm. Holding the distinction of the first professional company in the world dedicated to the art of stepping, the company will conduct a three-day residency that includes not only a public performance but also a free after-school stepping masterclass on Thursday, March 30 at 3:30 pm and three educational shows for school children.
Tickets for Saturday evening are $25 and can be purchased at Brook
The repertoire for the company’s 2017 Brooklyn residency performance includes:
Tribute (choreography, Jakari Sherma), a piece paying homage to the American step tradition and its roots in African American fraternities and sororities.
Ndlamu (choreography, Jackie Semela), a traditional dance of the Zulu people
Isicathulo (choreography, Jackie Semela), based on the South African gumboot dance
Solo, (choreography, Christopher Brient)
Chicago (choreography, Jakari Sherman), a “percussive symphony” that transforms traditional stepping into contemporary performance art
Founded by C. Brian Williams in 1994, Step Afrika! aims promote an appreciation for stepping and its use as an educational, motivational, and healthy tool for young people. Performances are much more than dance shows; they integrate songs, storytelling, humor, and audience participation. Over the past two decades, the company has grown to become one of the top 10 African American dance companies in the U.S. as well as Washington D.C.’s largest African American arts organization.
Step Afrika! promotes stepping as an educational tool for young people, focusing on teamwork, academic achievement and cross-cultural understanding. The company reaches tens of thousands of Americans each year through a 50-city tour of colleges and theaters and performs globally as Washington, DC’s one and only Cultural Ambassador.
The company has earned Mayor’s Arts Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education (2005), Innovation in the Arts (2008), and Excellence in an Artistic Discipline (2012), and most recently performed at the White House for President Barack Obama and the First Lady. Step Afrika! is featured prominently at the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African-American History & Culture with the world’s first stepping interactive.
C. Brian Williams (Founder / Executive Director) is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC and a native of Houston, TX. Brian first learned to step as a member of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Beta Chapter in 1989. After a fellowship in Southern Africa, he began to research stepping, exploring the many sides of this exciting, yet under-recognized American art form and founded Step Afrika! in 1994. Williams has performed, lectured, and taught in Europe, South & Central America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean, and throughout the United States.
He is a co-founder of the historic Step Afrika! International Cultural Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Under Brian’s leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s newest cultural exports and inspired the designation of Step Afrika! as Washington, DC’s official Cultural Ambassador. Brian has been cited as a “Civic/Community Visionary” by NV Magazine and “Nation Builder” by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. He is featured in Soulstepping, the first book to document the history of stepping, and several documentaries discussing the art form. Brian is also a recipient of numerous awards including the Mayor’s Art Award for Innovation in the Arts and the Pola Nirenska Award for Contemporary Achievement in Dance. Most recently, Brian received an appointment from Mayor Muriel E. Bowser to serve as a Commissioner for the DC Commission on Arts & Humanities.
Mfoniso Akpan (Artistic Director) has trained extensively in tap, ballet, jazz, modern, African dance, and step. While attending the State University of New York at Stony Brook, she majored in biochemistry and cultivated her stepping skills as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Mfon began her training at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Apollo Theater, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Lincoln Center. Mfon toured with the off-Broadway show Hoofin’ 2 Hittin, where she was a featured stepper and dancer.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College
2900 Avenue H, Brooklyn, NY 11210
Box Office: Brook
Groups of 15 or more: 718-951-4600 x3327