On Tuesday, Jan. 26, Brian Williams promoted the art of stepping at Quinnipiac. Williams uses stepping as an educational and motivational tool to promote discipline and teamwork as well as to bring people together through an art form. According to Williams, these are the principles of stepping.
Williams is a graduate of Howard University. He has been stepping for years. Williams is the founder of the group called Step Afrika! In December of 1994, he was exposed to South African “Gum Boot” dancing and the Soweto Dance Theater, a dancing group inspired by Pan Africanist philosophical ideals, which then inspired his ideas of “Step Africa!”
Williams said, “Stepping is a good way to get to know people, and it breaks the barrier line of communication and it exposes you to other cultures.”
Williams wants people to look at stepping more seriously. He also encourages students to attend the next International Cultural Festival. Williams and his group were recently in Johannesburg, South Africa where the most recent festival took place from Dec. 4-17.
Williams said he hopes there will be an American delegation that truly represents America. Stepping is not an ordinary dance form. It has been passed down from generation to generation. It was made popular by African American fraternities and sororities.
Stepping is trying to bring together the “gumboot” dance of South Africa and the stepping of the African American fraternities and sororities into one. They combine designed steps, songs, chants and movements to give the audience a great show of stepping.
The event was co-sponsored by the Student Center and the Social Programming Board. A crowd of about 275 faculty, staff, students and local Hamden residents attending the show.
Steve Vindigni, a junior microbiology major and president of the Social Programming Board said, “I am proud that (SPB) is playing a role in Black History month, and I think its an excellent opportunity for student organizations to show they can provide programs that are entertaining and educational.”
Lori Parks, a freshmen, was one of the many students who attended the performance. Parks said, “It was a form of pure beauty.”
Nikki Levine, a freshmen Mass Communications major, attended the show as well. She liked that the group involved the audience in the show.
Sharon Nelson, an adjunct faculty member, had seen the group before. When she heard they were coming to Quinnipiac she said, “I had to come see them again.”
Linda Carleton of Guilford, CT said “I had never seen anything like it. It was breathtaking.”
If you would like more information on the group, Step Afrika! write: Step Afrika! at P.O Box 26039 Washington, D.C. 20001 or call Brian Williams at (202) 462-2595. Email: [email protected] or go to the website at www.stepafrika.com.