Step Afrika! exploded onto the stage at Sharjah Performing Arts Academy (SPAA) earlier this week as part of their weeklong outreach tour of the UAE.
After performing at the opening of the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, Washington, DC’s celebrated Cultural Ambassador, Step Afrika!, engaged in community outreach and arts education across the UAE promoting the traditional African American dance form of stepping.
In partnership with the US Mission to the UAE, SPAA hosted the professional dance company who performed before a socially distanced audience of invited guests and VIP dignitaries. The performers received a standing ovation as they showcased their unique, exciting, percussive dance form at the only dedicated performing arts academy in the MENA region.
Students of SPAA had the honour of a meet and greet with the dancers after the show.
Peter Barlow, Executive Director of Sharjah Performing Arts Academy stated, “We are delighted and privileged to have hosted Step Afrika!, the first professional dance company in the world dedicated to promoting the art form of stepping through innovative and inclusive performances. A great attraction for hosting companies at our Academy is the possibility for professionals to be a significant and meaningful part of our student learning experience and graduate journey.”
Founded in 1994 by C. Brian Williams, Step Afrika! now ranks as one of the top ten African American dance companies in the United States. Their performances integrate songs, storytelling, humour, and audience participation.
Speaking about Step Afrika!’s collaboration with SPAA, U.S. Consul General Meghan Gregonis said, “The United States Mission to the UAE is proud to have partnered with Sharjah Performing Arts Academy to bring Step Afrika! to Sharjah. Step Afrika! truly highlights the diversity and culture of the United States. In addition to promoting cultural exchange, this program had a strong educational focus, as the artists enjoyed engaging with the students, helping them to prepare for careers in the arts. We very much look forward to our continued collaboration with the Sharjah Performing Arts Academy.”
Learn more about Step Afrika! at: www.stepafrika.org