Step Afrika! Can’t stop the beat!

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By Jiaxuan Meng

On Feb 7th, 2020, 'Step Afrika!', a signature African-American drum performance was performed at the Colwell Playhouse (Krannert Center for Performing Arts); and it amazed the audiences with its special art forms, including the tap dance and stepping.

It was an amazing performance! With the strong passion, high-energy, and creativity of performers, audiences had an incredibly amazing experience. They invited audiences to fully enjoy and participate in the performance through a devised process with the cast and great interaction.

Harlem, featuring Mwenso and the Shakes.

On the stage, the percussive dance form, performers used their bodies such as feet and hands as instruments to make dynamic and passionate beats, including clapping their hands and shoulders, with stepping at the core. When they don’t have their drums, they used their bodies to make sounds. It showed us how passionate, how energetic and how powerful they are! I was impressed by their movement, their strength, and their enthusiasm.

Stepping on the stage

Teamwork, commitment, and discipline

The performance built a sense of community, emphasized stepping's core values of teamwork, commitment, and discipline. Performers tended to move in groups to make strong steps, and they supported each other with their backs and shoulders, motivating and inspiring the spirit of teamwork and collaboration through such an interactive and energetic performance.

It also had great interaction with the audiences. We, as the audiences, we’re encouraged to clap our hands with the steps they performed, which let us fully get involved in this show. we followed the beats they made, by clapping our hands to make sounds and resonance.

What impressed me most is what they said on the stage:

“They took the drums away, but they could not stop the beat! '

At the end of the performance, when all performers returned the stage.

Resistance, resilience, and reclamation

Drumfork explores the event in history that forever transformed African American life and culture. When African lost the right to use their drums, the beats found their way into the body of the people. They expressed and interpreted the strong spirits of resistance, resilience, and reclamation. Freedom should be empowered. Freedom would be empowered.

Step Afrika! Can't stop the beat!

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