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NEWS RELEASE
City Hall
1565 First Street
Sarasota, FL 34236

For Immediate Release: January 3, 2012

STEP AFRIKA! BRINGS TRADITION AND CONTEMPORARY
RHYTHM TOGETHER ON THE VAN WEZEL STAGE

Sarasota, FL: Like a tap dance without shoes, or a band without instruments, stepping is percussive dance that uses kicks, stomps, claps and chants – all linked to African and modern dance traditions. Discover the world of stepping with Step Afrika! at the Van Wezel on January 12 @ 8 PM.

As the first professional company devoted to stepping, DC’s world –renowned Step Afrika! brings high-energy performance to the stage: a feast for both the eyes and ears. Founded in December 1994, the company is critically-acclaimed for its efforts to promote an understanding of and appreciation for stepping and the dance tradition's use as an educational tool for young people worldwide. From campus to concert hall, Step Afrika! reaches tens of thousands of Americans each year and has performed on many stages in North & South America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. Based in Washington, DC, the company has been featured on CNN, BET, PBS & NPR as well as numerous books, documentaries and articles that seek to explore the tradition of stepping.

So, what is “stepping”? Stepping is a unique dance tradition created by African American college students. In stepping, the body is used as an instrument to create intricate rhythms and sounds through a combination of footsteps, claps and spoken word. The tradition grew out of the song and dance rituals practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities in the early 1900s. Stepping comes from a long and rich tradition in African-based communities that use movement, words and sounds to communicate allegiance to a group. Stepping is without question a rising art form and an important part of America’s artistic and cultural heritage. As stated by historian Jacqui Malone and author of Steppin’ on the Blues, stepping is “one of the most exciting dance forms to evolve in the twentieth century.” Historical significance aside, the “electrifying talents” (The Washington Post ) and passion of these stepper-dancers live will move you to understanding, more than any definition can.

For more information and to buy tickets, contact the Van Wezel Box office at (941) 953- 3368 or log onto www.vanwezel.org

 


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