Performers to step into cultural experience

By Emily Klingman

Step Afrika is going to be stepping onto Rider’s campus soon.

The dance company is dedicated to the traditional form of stepping, which involves percussive dance styles, traditional African dances and a variety of other dance and art forms. Its performances merge the use of song, storytelling and humor, along with audience participation.

“The idea for this show came about because Step Afrika came to Rider about three years ago, and the group was well-received by the Rider students,” said Abi McCoy, multicultural chair of the Student Entertainment Council (SEC). “So [the SEC] thought that it would be a good idea to bring them back so a new batch of students could experience them.”

In planning for a Step Afrika performance, the SEC continued its aim of bringing entertainment to campus that all students will enjoy.

“As multicultural chair, I felt that it is important for students at Rider to be exposed to various forms of cultural expression,” said McCoy. “This type of performance, I hope, may provide students with the opportunity to see something that they would not usually see. Also, given the fact that we just celebrated Black History Month, I thought that bringing Step Afrika at this time was very fitting.”

Nick Barbati, assistant director of campus life, attended the show last time the group was here and said the team delivers a punch.

“I’ve seen Step Afrika perform before, and they always put on an incredible, jaw-dropping show,” said Barbati. “I’m most excited to see how our students react to their performance because they will no doubt be amazed.”

McCoy has high hopes for the audience’s reactions to the dancers.

“Step Afrika consists of an extremely talented, high-energy group of individuals,” said McCoy. “I am excited for students to see Step Afrika so they would be able to feed off of their positive energy. I hope that their enthusiasm provides students with a brief escape from an already taxing semester.”

McCoy believes that those who attend will give the dance team a warm welcome, and find it in themselves to relax a little bit.

“I hope that Rider students will be thoroughly entertained by Step Afrika,” said McCoy.

Barbati wants students to enjoy themselves, while also learning more about the context that gave rise to the performance.

“I hope students are entertained as well as educated on the culture behind stepping,” he said. “I’m sure they will be left elated and enlightened.”

McCoy’s last message to students is that this performance is one that is not usually seen, and, because of that, people should check it out.

“I would just like for Rider students to know that they should all come out to experience and enjoy this awesome company of professional dancers,” said McCoy. “The show will be full of energy, entertaining and different from what is usually seen on campus.”

Step Afrika will be taking place in the Yvonne Theater on March 6 at 8 p.m.

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