The Frostburg State University Cultural Events Series’ 2010-2011 season begins on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 9 p.m. with Step Afrika!, the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping. The group will perform in the Drama Theatre of the Performing Arts Center. The program is being presented with the Black Student Alliance and University Programming Council.
Founded in December 1994, Step Afrika 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. Step Afrika! reaches tens of thousands of Americans each year and has performed on many stages in North and South America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. “Knee slaps, flat-footed stomps, sandpapery drags and resounding claps rattle the rafter whenever Step Afrika! takes the stage. The energetic Washington, D.C.-based company makes irrepressible body music, and audiences whoop and holler their approval like a Baptist revival,” commented DANCE magazine.
Stepping is a unique dance tradition created by African-American college students and is a rising art and cultural heritage form. In stepping, the body is used as an instrument to create intricate rhythms and sounds through a combination of footsteps, claps and the spoken word. The tradition grew out of the song-and-dance rituals that have been practiced by historically African-American fraternities and sororities for decades. Stepping comes from a long and rich tradition in African-based communities that uses movement, words and sounds to communicate allegiance to a group.
Though stepping is traditionally aligned with college fraternities, the art form is universal and highly appealing to young people. Today, stepping can be found in high, middle and elementary schools across the U.S. as well as in churches and community-based organizations. The form is also spreading its wings to new venues and participants, such as Latino and Asian-American Greek-letter organizations.
Admission is $10 for non-FSU students and free for FSU students. Group discount tickets are also available. For more information about purchasing tickets, contact the Cultural Events Series at 301-687-3137 or visit http://ces.frostburg.edu.
This tour engagement of Step Afrika! is funded through the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation’s Mid-Atlantic Tours program with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Maryland State Arts Council. The Cultural Events Series is supported by grants from MSAC, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business and Economic Development, MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for MSAC is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions and two regional higher education centers within the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity.
FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.