Step Afrika brings down the house with routine
Stomping, shouting, loud drums fill a room. No, these people are not getting ready to fight, but rather dance — more specifically, stepping.
Step Afrika’s website explains stepping as, “In stepping, the body is used as an instrument to create intricate rhythms and sounds through a combination of footsteps, claps and the spoken word.”
Step Afrika is a dance group from Washington, D.C., that uses styles from fraternities and sororities, as well as traditional African-style dances.
They performed on stage in the CUB Multi Purpose Room on Thursday, Feb. 27.
The night started out with a short introduction by an APB member and then the group got to work. Gourp members started off with a normal step routine, bringing in the audience to help them along with a chant.
It was a series of “all rights” and “OK,” although the audience had a bit of trouble keeping up when it got quick. It was all in good fun as the group’s assistant artistic director, Mfoniso Akpan, explained a bit about what Step Afrika is, as well as what stepping is.
She then handed off the microphone to Artis J. Olds, another member who led the group into the next routine.
This routine was to show off the sorority and fraternity styles of stepping.
This turned out to be a competition, a face-off between the men and women. And with the audience’s help, it was a tie, one to the men and one to the women.
It then moved to using some volunteers from the audience to do stepping. They took the audience members through a simple routine, although some did not feel they were ready for it.
They followed the members as they danced, then had to do it by themselves. Many agreed it was not expected. This then transitioned into a traditional African dance.
This included more movements than stepping, which was more fluid at the beginning, but just as powerful as the stepping. They used the same audience members as before for this dance, one acting as a queen and another acting as a warrior while the other members helped with the bigger group parts.
All the while, drums were being pounded on in the background to add to the atmosphere.
After they walked back off the stage and letting the audience members go back to their seats, the new routine involved rain boots, or also known as gum boots.
This routine involved them slapping the boots along with the stepping.
They explained that this was a way that some people would communicate to each other when working with people who did not speak the same language as them.
Finally, after their amusing routine that involved a storyline of a supervisor and his workers, it finished off with one of the members stepping onto the stage and controlling the crowd’s applause, dressed nicer than before.
Soon after he was done with the crowd, all the rest of the members came out on stage and finished off the night with one more routine. They ended the night on a high note and a loud stomp.