Step Afrika! Summer Camp Rocks The Kennedy Center

Highlights from all six step teams.

The Step Show Experience

Step Afrika! 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.  The Company is now in its twenty-fourth year of service to the community.

Throughout the year, Step Afrika! engages in arts education activities, cultural exchange opportunities and performances all across the world.  Their curriculum includes in-school reading, history and physical education programs, a residency program for college-bound students and college scholarships.  The keystone of the Company’s arts education program is the highly popular Summer Steps Summer Camp.

Summer Steps

Jennell and Savannah 2018Summer Steps with Step Afrika! is a week-long summer camp for students in rising grades 4 to 12.  This year, it was again held at Trinity University.  It was our daughter Savannah’s second year attending the camp and she absolutely loves it…so much so that she spends most of her summer stepping and stomping her way through our house. I asked her a few questions to get her perspective on the Summer Steps experience:

What was a typical day like?

A typical day at summer steps began with the warm up at the Top of the Day. All students would gather in Trinity Washington’s main hall for lead moves. Next, the camp director, Ms. Mfon, would give a brief introduction about the theme of the camp day. This could be information about an African American or  Hispanic historic fraternity or sorority or advice on college life. The six groups would be dismissed to their part of the campus for morning sessions.

After a quick drink of water and bathroom break, morning sessions would commence. The morning sessions were a full 2 hours of choreography, classes, and practice. We had an hour to enjoy a homemade lunch and relax with our friends in the campus cafeteria. Students had the option of bringing their own lunch or eating Step Afrika!’s homemade delight.

After lunch, each group would craft a party walk with a visiting group’s instructor.  This was a fun break and we learned about each fraternity or sorority’s strolling traditions.

In the final afternoon session we repeated choreography to sharpen the morning’s lesson.  Cool down is similar to warm up. Students were then dismissed at 3:30 pm.

What did you take from the experience?

I gained an intense knowledge of the history of stepping, including its origin and cultivation.

Would your recommend the camp?

I would recommend the camp to others because not only do you learn the historic art form of stepping, you learn the history and origin along with life lessons on money saving, life skills, and college life. Step Afrika! prides itself on the fact all performers are graduates of an accredited college.

Culminating Performance

Kennedy CenterOn Saturday, August 11th, the campers welcomed their family and friends to the prestigious Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for their Culminating Performance.  This extravaganza has become so popular that the audience on the South Millennium Stage, where the performance took place, as well as overflow viewing on the North Millennium Stage, were both at standing room only capacity.  The District of Columbia’s Housing and Finance Agency (DCHFA) is a major sponsor of the event.  DCHFA administers many of the city’s most important homeownership programs, including DC Open Doors, the Mortgage Credit Certificate program and the Home Purchase Assistance Program.

The six teams were composed of students from rising fourth graders to rising high school seniors. The teams delivered an amazing show of precision, energy and humor.  The cheering crowd really absorbed the energy and encouraged each team to give their absolute best.  We described the format in detail in our article from last year, but you can get the full flavor of their exciting performance by the highlight video above.

We are already looking forward to next year’s camp!

About Step Afrika!

Founded in 1994, Step Afrika! is the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping.  The Company blends percussive dance styles practices by historically African American fraternities and sororities with African traditional dance and influences from a variety of other dance and art forms.  Learn more at StepAfrika.org.

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