|Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College continues its 2016-17 season with the much-anticipated return of Step Afrika! on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 8pm. Holding the distinction of the first professional company in the world dedicated to the art of stepping, the company will conduct a three-day residency that includes not only a public performance but also a free after-school stepping masterclass on Thursday, March 30 at 3:30pm and three educational shows for schoolchildren.
Tickets for Saturday evening are $25 and can be purchased at BrooklynCenter.org or by calling the box office at 718-951-4500 (Tue-Sat, 1pm-6pm).
The repertoire for the company’s 2017 Brooklyn residency performance includes:
- Tribute (choreography, Jakari Sherma), a piece paying homage to the American step tradition and its roots in African American fraternities and sororities.
- Ndlamu (choreography, Jackie Semela), a traditional dance of the Zulu people
- Isicathulo (choreography, Jackie Semela), based on the South African gumboot dance
- Solo, (choreography, Christopher Brient)
- Chicago (choreography, Jakari Sherman), a “percussive symphony” that transforms traditional stepping into contemporary performance art
About Step Afrika!
Founded by C. Brian Williams in 1994, Step Afrika! aims promote an appreciation for stepping and its uses as an educational, motivational, and healthy tool for young people. Performances are much more than dance shows; they integrate songs, storytelling, humor, and audience participation. Over the past two decades, the Company has grown to become one of the top ten African American dance companies in the U.S. as well as Washington D.C.’s largest African American arts organization.
Step Afrika! promotes stepping as an educational tool for young people, focusing on teamwork, academic achievement and cross-cultural understanding. The Company reaches tens of thousands of Americans each year through a 50-city tour of colleges and theaters and performs globally as Washington, DC’s one and only Cultural Ambassador. Step Afrika! has earned Mayor’s Arts Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education (2005), Innovation in the Arts (2008), and Excellence in an Artistic Discipline (2012), and most recently performed at the White House for President Barack Obama and the First Lady. Step Afrika! is featured prominently at the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African-American History & Culture with the world’s first stepping interactive.
C. Brian Williams (Founder/Executive Director)is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC and a native of Houston, TX. Brian first learned to step as a member of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Beta Chapter in 1989. After a fellowship in Southern Africa, he began to research stepping, exploring the many sides of this exciting, yet under-recognized American art form and founded Step Afrika! in 1994. Williams has performed, lectured, and taught in Europe, South & Central America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean, and throughout the United States.
He is a co-founder of the historic Step Afrika! International Cultural Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Under Brian’s leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s newest cultural exports and inspired the designation of Step Afrika! as Washington, DC’s official Cultural Ambassador. Brian has been cited as a “Civic/Community Visionary” by NV Magazine and “Nation Builder” by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. He is featured in Soulstepping, the first book to document the history of stepping, and several documentaries discussing the art form. Brian is also a recipient of numerous awards including the Mayor’s Art Award for Innovation in the Arts and the Pola Nirenska Award for Contemporary Achievement in Dance. Most recently, Brian received an appointment from Mayor Muriel E. Bowser to serve as a Commissioner for the DC Commission on Arts & Humanities.
Mfoniso Akpan (Artistic Director) has trained extensively in tap, ballet, jazz, modern, African dance, and step. While attending the State University of New York at Stony Brook, she majored in biochemistry and cultivated her stepping skills as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Mfon began her training at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Apollo Theater, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Lincoln Center. Mfon toured with the off-Broadway show Hoofin’ 2 Hittin, where she was a featured stepper and dancer.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts’ presentation of Step Afrika! is made possible through the ArtsCONNECT program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by TD Bank and the Mertz-Gilmore Foundation.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College
2900 Avenue H, Brooklyn, NY 11210
Box Office: BrooklynCenter.org or 718-951-4500 (Tue-Sat, 1pm-6pm)
Groups of 15 or more: 718-951-4600 x3327
Multibuy discounts (four or more shows) save 15% off individual ticket prices (not applicable for The Bremen Town Musicians). Multibuyers enjoy flexible ticket exchanges and discounted parking for purchased performances. A 50% discount for children ages 12 and under is offered for select performances. Discounts are also available for seniors, students, Brooklyn College faculty/staff/alumni, active/retired military personnel, and groups. $10 student rush tickets available day-of-show.
About Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
Founded in 1954, Brooklyn Center for the PerformingArts at Brooklyn College presents outstanding performing arts and arts education programs, reflective of Brooklyn’s diverse communities, at affordable prices. Each season, Brooklyn Center welcomes over 65,000 people to the 2,400 seat Whitman Theatre, including up to 45,000 schoolchildren from over 300 schools who attend their SchoolTime series, one of the largest arts-in-education programs in the borough.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts’ programs are supported, in part, by public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Brooklyn Center’s 2016-17 season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of
Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Major support for the 2016-17 season is provided by: Brooklyn College, Con Edison, TD Bank, National Grid, The Howard Gilman Foundation, the Jazz Touring Network, the Alice Lawrence Foundation, the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the TD Charitable Foundation. Additional support provided by CNG Publications, The Brooklyn Eagle, Brooklyn Media Group, and WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM. The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York Brooklyn is the official hotel of Brooklyn Center’s 2016-17 season. Backstage catering is graciously provided by Applebee’s.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts gratefully acknowledges generous support from New York State Assembly members Annette Robinson and Helene Weinstein; New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams; New York City Council Cultural Affairs Committee Chair Jimmy Van Bramer; New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl.