The Step Show Experience
When our family began searching for summer camp options for our pre-teen daughter this year, we were happy to learn about the Summer Steps with Step Afrika! camp. We thought that it would be a great opportunity for her to meet some new friends and learn about African-American college culture. After five days of camp and the Culminating Performance that took place on Sunday afternoon at the National Building Museum downtown, we are beyond thrilled that she was able to share in this experience.
New Frontier of Dance
Step Africa! is the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping. They use stepping as an educational and motivational tool to inspire young people. Throughout the year, Step Afrika! engages in arts education activities, cultural exchange opportunities and performances all across the world.
Through the Fire
Through our child’s experience, it is easy to see that their core values of teamwork, discipline and commitment are woven into every activity that they do. Over the course of five days, she came home and excitedly regaled us about the fun and the challenging parts of her team’s experience. On one day, the students had to strengthen their bodies by holding their arms in the air for minutes at a time or by doing chair stances. Then, on another day, the entire team had to do pushups when one or two students committed infractions of the house rules. That is certainly an effective way to build camaraderie and to teach the students to hold one another accountable for their behavior.
Our child is no ballerina, and she was apprehensive about picking up all of the skills in such a short timeframe. Through hard work and practice, she gained more confidence every day.
We really liked that the instructors took time out every day to talk to the students. Topics ranged from academics to the college experience. We also discovered that the oldest team spent time learning about money management and finances, both in preparation for college and the game of life.
The Grande Finale
On Sunday, the campers welcomed their family and friends to the magnificent National Building Museum for their Culminating Performance. The six teams were composed of students from rising fourth graders to rising high school seniors. After a fun introductory set, the teams battled in an amazing show of precision and competitive spirit. The high-energy step routines allowed truly gifted students to showcase their talents. At the same time, they gave new students the support and confidence to shine in front of the big audience. The cheering crowd really absorbed the energy and encouraged each team to give their absolute best.
We were so proud that our daughter trusted her training and overcame her anxiety. She and her team were absolutely terrific.
What’s Next for Step Afrika!
Now that their summer arts education program is concluded, Step Afrika will engage the Washington, DC community in a series of performances called 2017 Step Xplosion. This show will travel through all eight wards of the city. It begins on August 23rd at THEARC on Mississippi Avenue SE. All tickets are free. This is a show you truly should not miss. Visit www.StepAfrika.org to reserve your ticket today.
In addition, the troupe will perform on Broadway this season. Tickets for the November 10 to November 26th run at the New Victory Theatre are available now. After witnessing the gift that Step Afrika provides for local DC children, I cannot wait to see what they have in store for New York City.