Step Afrika! in Brooklyn

Dozens of people got a chance to experience an afternoon full of dance and musical percussion at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College Jan. 24 thanks to Step Afrika! It’s the first professional company known in the world dedicated to stepping.

Stepping is a form of dance, where the hands and feet are rhythmically put together to create a visual piece of art. African-American fraternities and sororities started the tradition in the early 1900s as a way to express pride in their organizations. Members would show off their steps on campus, also known as “the yard.”

Some people believe stepping is derived from a South African tradition known as the gumboot dance. The Step Afrika! artistic director, Mfon Akpan, says that although they both put an emphasis on sounds from hands and feet and are influenced by African culture, miners actually used the gumboot dance as a way to communicate with each other since they weren’t allowed to talk.

Melissa Rose Cooper got to check out Step Afrika! in action.

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