Step Afrika: A Party and A Show


Photo Credit: Buena Vista University

Hannah Kramer, Arts and Life Editor

“It’s a party and show wrapped in one”, Brandon Foster expressed. 

Last Thursday, February 6th, Buena Vista University hosted Step Afrika! in the Schaller Memorial Chapel. Thanks to the Multicultural Engagement Leadership Team & Center for Diversity & Inclusion, students and staff got the wonderful experience of witnessing their performance. Which was unforgettable!  

The group, Step Afrika! was founded in 1994 and is the World’s first professional company dedicated to stepping- which is the traditional polyrhythmic, percussive dance form that uses the body as an illustrative instrument. Stepping was, and still is, traditionally practiced historically by African American Fraternities and Sororities. The company, Step Afrika!, merges song, humor, storytelling and audience participation into every performance they do.  

“At first everyone was quiet, but once the show got going and the performers interacted with us, we interacted with them”, Foster said and the audience loved it!  

Charisma Mendez

The whole group consists of 14 full time dancers that are all college graduates. Many of which who are members of Historically Black Greek Fraternities and Sororities from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)With this group being one of the top five African American dance companies in the United States, the group is also Washington, DC’s only cultural ambassadorSo far they have traveled far and wide to promote cultural dialogue and exchange in Jordan (2018), Ghana (2018)Croatia (2019), Ukraine (2019), Zambia (2019), Angola (2019) and South Africa (2019).  

 Step Afrika!’s mission is to preserve, expand and promote an appreciation for stepping through professional performances and to educate, motivate, and inspire young people in and out of school through arts education programs that emphasize stepping’s core values of teamwork, commitment and discipline,” Step Afrika says according to their website.  

The group loves to spread their message and teach in order to inspire the next generation. Aside from touring internationally and nationwide, the group also has in-school programs as well as hosts a summer camp! The camp, Summer Steps with Step Afrika!, is for grades 4-12 which consists of a week of learning and concludes with a performance for the camper’s friends and family. Other opportunities for Step Afrika! to touch others through their traditional dancing is through visiting theatres such as Broadway and touring colleges and universities like BVU around the country.  

Storm Lake is a diverse town here in Iowa and as an extension of the community BVU takes pride in expressing diversity throughout the whole campus. Showcasing a professional group such as Step Afrika! is just one of the many ways we as a university try to incorporate learning about other cultures.  

The traditional dances of Africans are absolutely beautiful- It is [experiencing other cultures] important because there’s a lot that can be learned and gained from experiencing something new. Also, if you open yourself up to new people, they are more likely to do the same” Foster stated.  

Students and faculty here at BVU enjoyed the experience and would love to host Step Afrika! again. More information about this fantastic group can be found on their website at, .  

It met and exceeded my expectations,” Foster concluded.