StepAfrika! Performance showcasing talent and community involvement | Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

To kick off the beginning of Black History Month, on Feb. 1, 2022, the University of Illinois Springfield Student Activities Committee and the UIS Diversity Center hosted a performance by a professional dance group called StepAfrika! This event took place in the UIS Student Union Ballroom where a group of seven very talented performers took the stage.

StepAfrika! features individuals performing percussive dance styles. These dances are traditionally practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities. StepAfrika! dancers combine both traditional African dances and contemporary dances and art. More than just performing for an audience, the performers find a way to get the audience to participate. There is even humor, history, and other engaging factors that keep the audience completely invested.

Picture of South African Gumboots| Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The StepAfrika! crew use the dance style known as stepping to put on their performances. They are innovative, extremely energetic, and feature powerful movements and community involvement. In stepping/step dancing, footwork is very important. The performers are very skilled and talented at stepping their feet to the beat and putting on a show the audience cannot forget.

At the event, the seven performers gave the audience upbeat and charismatic music and dancing. The performers also got the audience involved many times, having everyone step or clap along to the beat. This kept the crowd engaged along with the stellar talent on display. A highlight of the performance was when the crew brought out their gumboot dance. The gumboot is a South African dance performed while wearing boots known as gumboots. Dancers would step and dance with the gumboots on, creating a captivating sound with high energy and percussive movement. The performers also provided the audience with the history of step dancing and the gumboots. The event succeeded in showcasing and embracing black history through explosive and engaging performances. If you want to support or learn more StepAfrika! and its crew and performances, check out their official website: