Step Afrika celebrates art of stepping

Daina Amorosano

Step Afrika, the first professional company dedicated to celebrating the art of stepping, performed for students on Feb. 22 in Connelly Center.

Around 200 students attended the event, which was co-sponsored by the Campus Activities Team and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Step Afrika was an interactive cultural event in which the steppers not only performed – combining intricate kicks and stomps with rhythms and spoken word – but also informed the audience about the origins and history of stepping.

“Step Afrika got the audience involved by bringing individuals onto the stage to try some of the steps themselves,” freshman Timothy Burke of Phi Sigma Kappa said. “The performers made the audience step out of its comfort zone and try the steps that people have practiced for generations.”

“I was very impressed by the dancers’ coordination, sharp dance moves and exact timing,” sophomore Zefie Nikolis of Alpha Chi Omega said. “The performers encouraged cheering throughout the concert and invited a few members of the audience to get up on stage and learn a few moves.”

The performers educated the audience on multicultural fraternities and sororities and African dance.

Step is itself an art form based in African traditions and born at African American fraternities.

“We step to entertain but also to raise awareness for the culture that created stepping,” according to the Step Afrika Web site.

Assistant Director of Student Development for Campus Activities Nikki Hornsberry saw Step Afrika at other conferences, and helped bring the company to the University.

“CAT strives to provide diverse programs for the student body, and as part of our Wildcat Point series for fraternities and sororities, Step Afrika complemented our other educational and social events,” Fraternity and Sorority Advisor Ralph Gigliotti said.

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life encourages the Greek community to attend Wildcat Point series events because of the cultural experience and chance to bond with brothers and sisters. They provide incentives to get students to attend the events.

At the end of each semester, the chapter that has attended the most events wins prizes or privileges for their campus involvement, including their choice of seats at Skit during Greek Week and of the order they perform in.

“We were very happy with the show and I hope our students learned something new from the program to bring back to their chapters,” Gigliotti said.