'Step Afrika!' comes to CMU on Monday
“Stomp the Yard” fans rejoice. Step Afrika! will be stepping onto a stage at Central Michigan University.
Students can see the stepping company at 7 p.m. on Monday in Plachta Auditorium as a part of Black History Month.
“Step Afrika! goes around the country and performs step exhibitions," said D’Wayne Jenkins, assistant director of cultural programming for multicultural academic student services. "There are some educational portions to the show and it is very entertaining."
Stepping is an art based on the tradition of African-based communities that used movement and sounds to communicate allegiance to a group. The body is used to create music through steps, clapping and the spoken word.
The group is the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping.
“I like to provide a good combination of education and entertainment for students," Jenkins said. "I feel that is the best way for students to learn."
"Step Afrika!" is evolving the dance to include modern styles, such as tap, modern and hip hop.
Today, stepping can be found in churches, community organizations and colleges around the country, including CMU.
Saginaw graduate student Justin McMillan has been stepping since the ninth grade and now participates in the activity with his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi.
“It’s something that is interesting and there is a history behind it," he said. "It is something that our sororities and fraternities do and it is important to be educated about it and know where it originated from."
Jenkins hopes the high energy dance will do more than just provide students with entertainment.