HOUSTON – C. Brian William, a Houston native, founded Step Afrika! (always with an exclamation) in 1994. It’s the first dance company dedicated to the art of stepping. They’ve toured more than 60 countries, including The White House, showcasing its history and tradition through stepping.
Renowned nationally as one of the top ten African-American dance companies in the United States, they’ve earned many prestigious awards like the Mayor’s Arts Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education. They are also featured at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture with the world’s first interactive stepping exhibit.
Blending dance styles from historic African-American fraternities and sororities, traditional African dances, and contemporary art forms, Step Afrika! creates a unique interactive storytelling experience that is upbeat and energetic. This weekend, the group is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a performance of ‘Drumfolk’ at the Cullen Theater.
Directed by Jakari Sherman, also a Houston native, ‘Drumfolk’ rhythmically explored the Stono Rebellion of 1739 when the enslaved Africans in South Carolina used their drums to start a revolt that forever transformed 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, resulting in some of our country’s most distinctive traditions like tap, the ring shout, and stepping.
Watch the video above of the group’s history and the heart-pounding preview of ‘Drumfolk.’ Plus, Derrick and Tessa learn the art of stepping. Comment below on how they did.
And if you like to see the whole production, they are performing this weekend:
Oct. 27 & 28
Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater
Presented by Performing Arts Houston
Seats are filling up fast. Click here to get your ticket(s) now.