D.C.’s Step Afrika! Celebrates 21 Years

by: Lauren Poteat Special to the AFRO
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Step Afrika!, an international dance company based in Washington, D. C., is commemorating 21 years of dance and educational youth empowerment with a fundraising event.Article26 Afrika_Fotor

The Step Afrika! VIP Gala will be held on June 9 at Dock 5 Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE., at 7 p.m. Step Afrika! is a nonprofit dance company that serves about 30,000 D.C. high school students per year through extracurricular activities, according to its website.

“Stepping with Step Afrika! always promotes high connections with Africa and academic achievement with things like Step Afrika! Reads or Step Up to College,” C. Brian Williams, founder of Step Afrika!, told the AFRO. “A huge portion of the events’ proceeds will go towards the production of two new innovative dance programs that we want to share with the youth entitled ‘Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence’ and ‘Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite’ in conjunction with the Baltimore symphony.”

The organization’s rich history started in 1994 after Williams took a trip to South Africa –with a background in stepping as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity — and learned African foot dances, such as Gumboot, which was created by miners in South Africa as an alternative to drumming, which was once illegal.

The dance company now tours between 30 to 50 universities and three to 12 countries per year and has serviced more than 100,000 youth since its inception in 1994. The company’s main goal is to build on African tradition while providing optimism and heavy emphasis on college education.

“Step Afrika! is extremely dedicated to preserving and promoting the African traditions of performing and using our platform to promote education,” Williams said.

For more information, call 202.399.7993 x 112 or email development@stepafrika.org.

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