Thursday, December 17, 2015

Strathmore’s Step Xplosion Showcases Art of Step with Regional Squads Led By Step Afrika!

From our friends at Strathmore...

Strathmore Presents Step Afrika! Step Xplosion, January 17, 2016

First professional company dedicated to step brings percussive dance, six step groups to Strathmore for second annual showcase honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Strathmore and Step Afrika! celebrate step, a unique American art form comprised of percussive, full-body dance, in the Step Afrika! Step Xplosion on Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 4 PM in the Music Center at Strathmore. The performance is a showcase of the talent, vibrancy, and diversity of the art form expressed by regional youth step groups K.A.O.S.S. Entertainment, Inc. (Kids Always On the Same Step), Dem Raider Boyz Step Squad, and The Herndon High School Step Team. In a nod to the tradition of step in Washington, D.C., Step Xplosion also features the QuaDrew Step Team and Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. of Howard University. Also performing is New York’s Crimson Inferno, an all-female squad. This is the second annual showcase in a partnership between Strathmore and Step Afrika! that celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the contributions of step to American culture. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or visit

Stepping is a percussive dance form that uses the body as an instrument. It emerged from African American fraternities and sororities of historically black colleges and universities in the early 1900s. Step incorporates elements of traditional African dance, culture, and history, as well as vocals derived from African American spirituals and popular music.

Strathmore Presents 
Step Afrika! Step Xplosion
Sunday, January 17, 2016
4 PM

Tickets $25-$40

Music Center at Strathmore
5301 Tuckerman Lane
North Bethesda, MD 20852

For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit or call (301) 581-5100.

About Step Afrika!:
Step Afrika! founder C. Brian Williams first learned to step as he pledged to become a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. at Howard University in 1989. When he graduated, Williams moved to Lesotho, an independent country within South Africa. While there, he first saw the gumboot dance - a percussive dance similar to stepping practiced by South African mine workers. Captivated, Williams sought ways to bring the two art forms and peoples together. In 1994, in conjunction with artists in Johannesburg, Williams founded Step Afrika! He brought the dance Company to the United States soon after to teach American children the art form and its guiding values of teamwork, discipline, and commitment.

Step Afrika! is the first and only professional step Company in the world. As it has grown, the Company has attracted performers with backgrounds in other art forms such as ballet, tap, and hip-hop. As much an innovator as a conservator, the Company also takes stepping in new directions through collaborations with hip-hop, modern dance, and symphony orchestras across the country.

Education Outreach: Taking Step to the Community:
Strathmore will extend the step experience by partnering with Step Afrika! for Step Up, a five-month residency by Step Afrika! artists at three eligible schools or community youth organizations in east Montgomery County. Step Up is the vanguard in a series of dynamic programs planned as part of the art center’s East County Initiative, which focuses on delivering high-level artistic and education programs to residents of east Montgomery County. Targeting areas of acute need along the Route 29 corridor, the program aims to make use of existing facilities to bring the arts directly into neighborhoods and empower local arts groups to better activate and engage their community. Announced in April 2015, the East County Initiative broadens Strathmore’s commitment to ensure that no one is denied the opportunity to engage in and benefit from the arts.

Step Up will feature weekly after-school step team practices, clinics with Step Afrika! artists, a showcase performance for participating step teams, tickets and transportation to attend the 2016 Step Xplosion showcase, and opportunities to perform at the 2017 event. In addition to the art of step, residency students will complete the Step Up to College curriculum created by Step Afrika!

Step Up is supported by a $10,000 Challenge America grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

About Strathmore:
Strathmore presents and produces exemplary visual and performing arts programs for diverse audiences; creates dynamic arts education experiences; and nurtures creative ideas and conversations that advance the future of the arts. The organization’s hallmark is the Music Center at Strathmore, with a 1,976-seat concert hall and education complex. Its core campus also includes the historic Mansion at Strathmore, which features an intimate Music Room and art galleries. Most recently, Strathmore opened AMP, a 250-seat cabaret-style venue located just up Rockville Pike from the core campus in the burgeoning Pike District of Montgomery County. Strathmore’s signature education, mission-driven programs include the Strathmore Student Concerts, the Artist in Residence and Fine Artist in Residence programs, and its Spring Break @ Strathmore camp.