Dance group performs at CSU Monterey Bay

The community is invited to celebrate Black History Month with Step Afrika when the group visits CSU Monterey Bay on Feb. 21.

Step Afrika will visit CSUMB Feb. 21 as part of Black History History Month Stepping is a unique dance tradition created by African American college students. The body is used as an instrument to create intricate rhythms and sounds through a combination of footsteps, claps and spoken word.

The tradition grew out of the song and dance rituals practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities in the early 1900s. Moviegoers got their first glimpse of stepping in Spike Lee's 1988 film "School Daze.

According to Jacqui Malone, a professor of dance at the City University of New York, stepping is a rising art form and an important part of America’s artistic and cultural heritage. In her book, “Steppin’ on the Blues,” she says stepping is “one of the most exciting dance forms to evolve in the 20th century.”

As the first professional company devoted to stepping, Washington, D.C.-based Step Afrika brings high-energy performance to the stage: a feast for both the eyes and the ears.

The performance will start at 7 p.m. in CSUMB’s World Theater, located on Sixth Avenue near A Street. Tickets are $15 and are available by calling the box office at 582-4580 or online. Seating is general admission.

Driving directions and a campus map are available here.

The event is sponsored by the Otter Student Union, Associated Students and the Otter Cross Cultural Center.

Stepping is tap dance without tap shoes, James Brown without the music of the JBs, Cab Calloway sans piano, a marching band without John Philip Sousa. It is jazz, funk, rhythm and blues, and rap without instruments. Stepping is lean and mean. The music comes from the synchronized interplay of hands and feet, from chants and hollers. It is a way to make music using the body as instrument.
– Jill Nelson, The Washington Post