Program Notes for Step Afrika! by Sarah Coleman

Dear Friends, 

The first time I saw Step Afrika! I could not stay in my seat. The energy, the rhythm, the speed was infectious. I loved being in their audience – especially with young people. When Aimée shared that Step Afrika! was to be featured in our 2020-21 season I was ecstatic. And while we remain committed to bringing them live when it is safe for us all to gather again, we could not resist this opportunity to engage with them virtually as a way to set the stage for their eventual arrival in Portland.Photo of Step Afrika! performingLike so many other artists, the company has pivoted to virtual programming and have put together something almost as good as a live performance. These five videos allow you to explore the history of stepping as it was created by African-American fraternities and sororities along with the African roots of the dance form. Shot in a studio and around Washington, D.C. you get an up-close look at the complex movements that make up the polyrhythmic dance form. And, in the fourth video, a few company members teach you how to step.  

We are streaming this series over many students’ February break as a way to provide some performing arts experiences while they are home. You can watch them together, all in one day, or spread them out over a few days. After you purchase your tickets, don’t forget to check out the educational resources linked below the video to learn more about the culture and history of stepping, Step Afrika!, and Washington, D.C. where the company is based.  

Our presentation of Step Afrika! now and in the future – is a part of a larger series, Seeking Resonance, which we present in partnership with Indigo Arts Alliance. This series offers opportunities for us all to explore the vibrational quality of connecting with a place or space, each other and ourselves. From stories of migration to diasporic art forms, we travel the world with the many Black and Indigenous peoples, cultures and artistic expressions that make up our global community. Together, exploring our deep need to find “home:” a space and place that makes us feel whole – where we feel joyful, safe, valued and loved. We had the chance to share more about this during our “Welcome Home” event in September of 2020.  

We hope you enjoy Step Afrika! from your own home, where you always have the best seat in the house and room to get up and move if, like me, you have a hard time staying in your seat.  


Sarah Coleman
Director of Engagement