From Appalachia to South Africa, stepping runs the gamut of cultural influences
Virginia Tech will celebrate the complex tradition of step dancing with two on-campus performances that are open to the public.
The first event will be held on Monday, March 3 when the high energy dance troupe Step Afrika! will give a free performance at 7 p.m. in the Squires Student Center Haymarket Theater. The event is sponsored by the National Pan-Hellenic Council at Virginia Tech, the Black Student Alliance, and the Student Budget Board.
The second performance will be held on Friday, March 21 when the annual Overton R. Johnson Step Show begins at 7 p.m. in Burruss Auditorium. Tickets to this event, which showcases the talents of students in Virginia Tech's African American fraternities and sororities, are $7 and are available at the Squires Student Center Ticket Office.
“Stepping is a unique art form, and its development from African dance customs to exciting American dance genre is fascinating,” said Tavianna Williams, assistant director of fraternity and sorority life at Virginia Tech. “Step Afrika! is the perfect showcase to learn the history and traditions of stepping in advance of the Overton R. Johnson Step Show. Stepping has become a tradition in black fraternities and sororities nationwide."
The Overton R. Johnson Step Show honors Virginia Tech's first African-American faculty member who went on to become the university’s first black dean and first president of the Black Faculty and Staff Caucus. Held each spring, the performance raises money for student scholarships.
Founded in 1994, Step Afrika! is the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping. By blending percussive dance styles practiced by African American fraternities and sororities, African traditional dance, and influences from a variety of other dance and art forms, the group creates performances that are include songs, storytelling, humor, and audience participation to create a unique cultural experience.
Tickets for the Overton R. Johnson Step Show may be purchased at the Student Centers and Activities Ticket Office located on the first floor of Squires Student Center or by calling 540-231-5615.
Parking for both events is available in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Streets, in the Architecture Annex Lot on Otey Street, and the Perry Street/Prices Fork lots. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200.
Written by Brooke Williams of Christiansburg, Va., a sophomore double-majoring in English and communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.