Energetic Step Afrika to offer free performance

Step Afrika performing.The kinetic energy of Step Afrika will come to SUNY Oswego on Monday, Aug. 30, in a free performance for the campus and community.

Partnering sponsors Artswego, the Student Association Programming Board, the Office of Orientation and the Office of International Education and Programs have extended an open invitation to the unticketed 8:30 p.m. performance in the Campus Center arena.

“This is an exciting collaboration,” said Artswego Coordinator Mary Avrakotos.  “Joining the energies of students and administrators, we imagined an event that welcomes the campus and community to a new college year and that celebrates the increasingly global focus of the campus.”

Classes will begin the same day for the fall semester, and Step Afrika represents the excitement of an upcoming season of arts and entertainment, as well as a new academic year, Avrakotos said.

Step Afrika, the first of six events in Artswego’s 2010-11 Performing Arts Series, is the first professional company dedicated to stepping, a percussive dance style rooted in the traditions of African-American fraternities and sororities.

Founded in December 1994, the company has received critical acclaim for its efforts to promote an understanding and appreciation of stepping. The unique ensemble reaches tens of thousands of Americans each year, and has performed on many stages in North and South America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.

Based in Washington, D.C., the company has been featured on CNN, BET, PBS and NPR and in numerous books, documentaries and articles. Step Afrika also serves as a cultural ambassador for the United States, representing the nation at events around the world through special invitations from American embassies.

Its signature event, the Step Afrika International Cultural Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, is the fruit of a 10-year collaboration with the Soweto Dance Theatre that unites artists from around the world in dialogue and dance performance.

Step Afrika frequently conducts residencies, master classes and in-school performances for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian Institution and for schools and community-based organizations nationwide. During their visit to Oswego, the troupe members will offer step workshops on Sunday, Aug. 29, at 1 and 2:30 p.m. To register, e-mail orient@oswego.edu.

The appearance by Step Afrika at SUNY Oswego is made possible by grants from the New York State DanceForce and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Parking is free on campus on evenings and weekends.

For more information on the Artswego Performing Arts Series and the many other SUNY Oswego entertainment events planned for 2010-11, visit http://www.oswego.edu/arts. Season and individual-performance tickets for events subsequent to Step Afrika are available at http://tickets.oswego.edu or by calling 312-2141.

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(Posted: Aug 12, 2010)

Tags: world awareness, vitality, dance, artswego