Cultural Fabrication, A Traveling Black Woman

STEPPING THRU THE SNOW Performance Review




I had the pleasure of attending StepAfrika! closing show for the 2018 year~Magical Musical Holiday Step Show.

It's always a Party with these exciting and riveting performers. They come together from different parts of the country, cultures, fraternities and sororities to bring audiences at the Atlas Theatre on H Street Washington DC what they do best....STEPPING.

Arriving early, is always best when seeing a show, and so I did. It allows the audience time and opportunity to dive into the experience be seated and actually browse through the program, learn the details of the show and discover the persons and organizations who make it all possible. Upon entry an interactive table greets audiences at the door where we can quickly craft and design their own instruments and noise makers. This is what makes StepAfrika! a household favorite, they provide creative and interactive seg ways for the public engage throughout the show. This is Brilliant for audiences with children, so that they do more than just spectate but can have a sensory experience to be remembered when they return home. The crafting was for adults too so I made myself a noisemaker, although Christmas had passed, I attached candycane stickers and sleigh-bells onto my Star shaped tambourine and gladly took my seat just one row up from the stage, far left.

The performance area was situated arena style with four levels of bleacher seating surrounding a square shaped stage where snow flake shapes peered down from the projectors. The DJ spun Christmas favorites and invited us to party and play waiting for the show to begin. When the lights went down, we could certainly say that the wait was well worth it. The company members christened the stage with percussion instruments: tall drummers of different sounds and qualities, dressed in Sequin Holiday Colored Blazer and lift our Spirits with their dance. All throughout the show the performers changed into costumes that told unique Holiday stories: Candy Cane Stockings for Elves and Fairies during their Step Battle, All-white Denim and a White Furry Vests with Christmas lighting inside *which appears to be a running theme amongst Holiday performances today, Stylish Platinum Space Hoodies and Black Ski Suites during a new scene this year and a Purple/Lavender Draped Dressed for the Holiday StepFairy. Great job Costume Director!!!


Frosty and Pinky were the show's special friends and Holiday mascots, 6 feet tall furry walking puppets, they brought a whimsical element of kid fun and imagination. You'd see them stepping, clapping and dancing along too. Before the end of the show, kids and parents were invited to join the performers onstage and learned how to "Catch Snow Flurries...rollup snow and throw it at our friends...." in a dance~the StepAfrika! Frosty Shuffle.
Soooooooo much fun, and reasons to make memories with loved ones.

There were a couple of new additions this year that made the Holiday show stand out.
One in particular with the full cast, "Snow Day"consisted of the familiar sounds of shoveling snow. More of a dramatic skit, it plays out like a day spent outside among friends/neighbors after a big snow fall where they meet up to share a moment of each others cold-pains which turned into some "Let me SHOW YOU HOWS...." rhythmic sound playing of stepping and beating their legs in feet. It's the Gumboots style of dance, which originated in the South African amongst the mine workers bringing in creativity to their long day. The performers really captured the essence of that feeling and drew us in to the scene, distinctly different from the others with heels and hard stamping dress shoes.

There was also the, "Home for the Holidays" all-men's step routine where they tossed, toggled and stood on the hardwood brief cases painted like presents wrapped to bring home to the family. And finally, the cute little dancing pixie fairy in "A Fairy's Tale" who magically helps Pinky the Mascot get out of it's shell and dance too.

The performers kept their energy HIGH. Their smiles BRIGHT and their Sponsors, Donors and Board Members who were in the audience this final show, HAPPY. As a performer, audience member and writer--I too felt fulfilled from tonights show and can't wait to see all that StepAfrika! has in store for 2019.




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