Step Afrika! to perform at Doudna Saturday

Hannah Shillo, Entertainment Reporter

The Doudna Fine Arts Center will celebrate African-American Heritage Month with a special rhythmic performance on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Step Afrika! is a group of professional dancers who “promote an appreciation for stepping and its use as an educational, motivational and healthy tool for young people,” according to stepafrika.org.

The website said stepping is an art form as well as “an important part of America’s artistic and cultural heritage,” that uses movement, words and sounds to create an entertaining environment.

Dan Crews, interim director of programming, publicity and promotion at Doudna, said Step Afrika! came to his attention several years ago.

“I saw them at a conference,” he said. “They were very impressive because of the different kind of dances they perform.”

Crews said the group has been on campus before, but it has been a few years, so he is excited.

“I always enjoy any kind of acoustic music,” he said. “They are creating their own music by the stomping on the ground.”

He said he thought the group would be a good addition to African-American Heritage Month because of the traditional African dances it performs.

“With all the various celebrations that the campus has been presenting this month,” Crews said, “this is one of the things that brings our attention to (African-American History Month).”

Crews encouraged not only students to attend the event, but anyone in the area, especially families, as he said this is a show that each family member could enjoy.

He said hosting Step Afrika! at the Doudna is something to be taken advantage of because of how professional the group is.

“This is a group who is at the top of their game,” he said. “They perform all across the country and presenting dance can be a very expensive adventure.”

Seeing the group at the Doudna is a lot cheaper than it would be at any metropolitan area, Crews said, so that is another reason to attend.

“People are not having to drive to Indianapolis or Chicago or St. Louis,” he said. “They’re getting it right here in their own backyard and we are excited about that.”

Crews said this is one of the Doudna’s premier events and wants people to come enjoy the performance.

“I hear students say all the time, ‘There’s nothing to do in Charleston,’” he said. “Here at the Doudna, from the time we start school in August until we end things in April, we will probably have anywhere from 100-110 performances, and this is one of the things that we can bring so that people can enjoy. We hope that the students will take advantage of it.”

Hannah Shillo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]