Drums were once outlawed among enslaved Africans in the American South as a way of curtailing communication, connection, and culture. But rhythm could not be suppressed, and it was preserved and transmitted through body percussion: juba, hambone, tap dance, and stepping. The virtuosic dancers of Washington DC’s celebrated Step Afrika! troupe continue and extend a long tradition of stepping—elaborate and joyful song and dance rituals performed by Black fraternities and sororities since the early 1900s. “In the bodies of these skilled performers, the beat is obviously unstoppable. Again and again, the dancers pick it up and pass it around with clapping hands and stomping feet, through the legs, behind the back, defiant and unified and inspiring” (The New York Times).
Run time for this performance is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.