Step Afrika!, the first professional company that practices traditional “stepping,” performed at Geneseo in the lofty Wadsworth Auditorium on Saturday Nov. 10. The sensational dance troupe has traveled all over the world performing and connecting with communities.
Young and old were amazed by the performers’ ability to complete complicated dance moves with obvious ease. Energy radiated off the performers as the audience clapped and yelled encouragements after particularly strong moves.
The performers encouraged a positive and cheerful environment as they involved the audience in judging a step challenge between the men and women dancers.
At one point, certain members of the audience were invited onstage. These participants were taught a few simple steps and then were allowed to sit on stage and watch the next section of the performance.
The performers were full of energy and a sense of unity radiated with their fellow performers onstage.
Step Afrika! company member Kiera Harley described the palpable connection the performers share.
“We are up there giving each other our energy, encouraging each other, we talk the whole time.” Harley said.
The performers pushed the audience to step out of their comfort zones by creating beats with claps as well as dancing on stage without instruction. The audience was receptive and cheered the other audience members who tried step.
Harley found it important to perform at a college and encourage the students to get involved.
“Stepping was founded in colleges by college students, it is a great opportunity to show them something that started right where they are and see how it has turned into a professional platform,” Harley said. “It is important to keep the tradition of stepping alive.”
The audience seemed pleasantly surprised by the level of talent the performers exhibited in the show. Everyone cheered and whistled after dancers showcased their skills and synchronization on stage.
Childhood and special education major sophomore Paige Chalfant came for her dance class but was blown away by the performance.
“I really love the mix of African dance and step dance, it was really nice to see the history behind everything,” Chalfant said. “I was surprised to see how they came from such different places. It was really interesting seeing that diversity and how talented they all were as they worked together.”
Harley wanted to emphasize the importance that performers placed on inspiring their audience.
“The audience should take away a sense of community. Try anything you’re excited about, go for it,” Harley said. “They should walk away motivated and inspired to go after whatever they want to do and be great at it.”
Chalfant was motivated by the diversity of the performers’ backgrounds and how well they worked together.
“The show raises awareness of different cultures,” Chalfant said. “It’s important to understand other people’s backgrounds and where they come from and what is important to them as it should be important to us as well.”
Step Afrika! had a beautiful performance that impressed and touched its audience while exerting powerful, positive energy.