February 7, 2020 was a perfect Friday night at the Colwell Playhouse in Kranner Center for Performing Arts. A spectacular performance entitled ' Step Afrika ! : Drumfolk' shared the story that took place when South Carolina passed The Negro Act of 1740.
Written by Weon Taek Na
The drum which is widely known to be a band instrument holds a special meaning for the African American community. For African Americans, the drum symbolized both the resilience and reclamation that took throughout the American history. During a harsh time, the drum was banned from the African American community. However African Americans withheld the meaning that the drums symbolized by leveraging their own bodies to continue to express resilience. This historic event was portrayed during the show, as the crew changed “they took away our drums, but they could not stop the beat!”.
How the crew leveraged only their bodies and drums to the euphoric sounds was superb. The body percussion was beyond amazing. The heavy stepping, tapping, clapping and further complex body movements portrayed the resilience against the antagonists and the African American community’s resistance against the compression of music. In particular, the portrayal of resilience and determination of reclamation were expressed to the max through the dancers extreme movements of their arms and legs.
The great teamwork of the dancers also came across to the audience as strong performances in each act. The beautiful choreographies were portrayed on cue by all the dancers, not only in terms of the body movement, but moreover the facial expressions were on cue.
During the performance, a sense of community further enhanced as the performers and the audience clapped together in a unique rhythm, participating in the performance together. In the end, the sense of community exploded to the maximum as the audience gave a standing ovation to the crew for the beyond amazing performances.
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