Afrika steps into Omaha

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February 14th, 2011

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Omaha, NE – A blend of African dance and African American hip hop will be performed at the Holland this weekend.

Step Afrika brings their rhythmic boot-slapping style to the Holland Friday, Feb. 18

In the dance troupe Step Afrika, the performers use their bodies as their instruments, creating music with footsteps, claps, spoken word and rhythmic slapping against their hard-soled shoes. The style is inspired by traditional South African gumboot dancing, which was created by South African miners during the country’s Apartheid era. Gumboot dancers use their rubber boots and bells to create rhythms and sounds. Step Afrika has used that sound and blended it with modern African American hip hop.

South African gumboot dancers performing outside a township residence

The troupe was founded by C. Brian Williams, a member of the nation’s oldest black fraternity. Williams saw the similarity between the gumboot dancers and the step dancing of his fraternity brothers, and connected the two traditions.

Step Afrika will perform at the Holland Performing Arts Center in downtown Omaha Friday, February 18 at 8:00pm. They will also be stopping by Omaha-area schools for educational showcases of their work, and to adjudicate a local Step Off competition.

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