Step Afrika! showcases different dance styles


Jordan Boyer

Step Afrika! performs Ndlamu, a traditional dance of the Zulu people, Saturday night in the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Hannah Shillo, Entertainment Reporter

The rhythmic stomps and claps in the Theatre bellowed throughout the Doudna Fine Arts Center Saturday night as Step Afrika! made its presence known.

Dan Crews, director of programming, publicity and promotions at Doudna, introduced the show, saying Step Afrika! was founded by C. Brian Williams and focuses on the percussive dance style known as stepping.

“I think you’re in for a real treat tonight,” Crews said, preparing the crowd for the 90-minute show.

The lights dimmed, the crowd went silent and the performers made their way to center stage as the show began.

Members of Step Afrika! spent the first 10 minutes of the show showing off their talent while engaging the crowd and introducing them to the different styles of stepping.

Matthew Evans, one of the performers, acted as a host for the first half of the show.

He explained to the audience how the show was going to play out and encouraged the crowd to clap, stomp or cheer when they saw something they liked.

“The more energy you give to us,” Evans said, “we will give right back to you.”

To show how much the crowd’s energy affected the performance, Evans announced a “step challenge”—a stepping competition between the “ladies” and the “fellas.”

Evans told the audience they would judge the competition by cheering for who they thought deserved to win each round.

The first round went to the “ladies” while the second round went to the “fellas,” but before a third round began, Evans said there was no need.

“We step better when we step together,” he said, calling for an end to the step challenge.

For the next part of the show, members of Step Afrika! made their way to the crowd and asked for volunteers in the audience to go up to the stage and learn a stepping routine.

Evans led the tutorial for the step, then let the newly trained steppers try out the routine on their own in front of the rest of the audience.

In addition to spending time engaging the crowd, Step Afrika! dancers showed the history of stepping traditions, including Ndlamu, a traditional dance of the Zulu people, and “the gumboot dance,” a traditional dance created by South African workers in the mining industry.

Solo dances were performed as well, both for the dancers to connect with the crowd and to show the crowd how talented the dancers are.

For the grand finale, all 14 of the dancers came together on stage and performed one final dance.

The dancers thanked the crowd for their continuous excitement and engagement throughout the show and invited them to learn more about Step Afrika! at

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