Photo by Jonathan Garcia/Island Waves Step Afrika! performer Deatrice Clark shows the crowd how it's done with a friendly step-off as Jordan Spry watches on.
Photo by Jonathan Garcia/Island Waves Step Afrika! performer Deatrice Clark shows the crowd how it's done with a friendly step-off as Jordan Spry watches on.

TAMU-CC hosts Step Afrika!

February 27, 2019

In honor of Black History Month, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi hosted a “Step Afrika!” performance in the Performing Arts Center.

The event began on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 7:00 p.m. as the Step Afrika! dance team gave an explosive opening performance. The dance style of stepping, originally created by African American college students in fraternities and sororities, “is a high energy, polyrhythmic, percussive dance form,” as described by Step Afrika! performer, Anesia Sandifer.

The event was highly interactive as the performers encouraged the audience to clap, cheer and stomp as the performers stepped.

“The more energy you give to us, we will give right back to you!” said Step Afrika! performer Emanuel Chacon.

Photo by Jonathan Garcia/Island Waves
Step Afrika! performer Deatrice Clark shows the crowd how it’s done with a friendly step-off as Jordan Spry watches on.

Chacon then announced a dance challenge between the “ladies” of Step Afrika! and the “fellas.”  

The audience cheered as the teams battled for victory. The ladies won the first round while the fellas won the second. Before battling for the third and final round, Chacon announced, “We step better when we step together.”

Photo by Jonathan Garcia/Island Waves
Emanuel Chacon shows the kids in the audience how to learn to step and march as a true Step Afrika! performance, immersing them in the performance.

Performers then entered the audience and asked for volunteers to join them on stage to learn a stepping routine. The crowd cheered as the young volunteers learned the step routine led by Chacon.

Evans led the tutorial for the step, then let the newly trained steppers try out the routine on their own in front of the rest of the audience.

Photo by Jonathan Garcia/Island Waves
A young member in the audience follows the routine given by performer Emanuel Chacon, showing that he can be a young step dancer.

After the new steppers gave their performance, the Step Afrika! team showed a few more styles of stepping, including the “gumboot” dance.

This dance was created by South African miners who wore gumboots to protect themselves from the harsh working conditions. By slapping the boots and creating a rhythm, the miners were able to create a unique form of communication.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said audience member Hannah Gomez, “The way they make sounds through the boots to communicate is really something.”

Photo by Jonathan Garcia/Island Waves
Step Afrika! performers Anesia Sandifer and Conrad Kelly II do a step routine in gumboots to symbolize what African workers wore to protect their feet from the damp and jagged rocks they step on.

The finale was a group performance by the Step Afrika! dance team. The performers then encouraged the crowd to visit the Step Afrika! website, www.stepafrika.org to learn about scholarship opportunities for those who attended the event as well as invite the audience to attend Step Afrika! tryouts in Washington D.C. on May 18, 2019.

 

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