On Friday, Step Afrika!, a professional stepping company based out of Washington, D.C., will pay their first visit to the Goshen College campus. The group is known for blending agility and raw energy. According to Corie Steinke, campus activities director, this group will be a perfect fit for the GC campus, which thrives on intercultural interactions and awareness. Steinke is hopeful for a full house in the Umble Center to “welcome them warmly.”

Step Afrika! combines traditional African dance styles and dress with stepping, a dance form popularized in African-American fraternities and sororities. The troupe also mixes humor, storytelling and music with dances.

Founded in 1994, Step Afrika! ranks as one of the Top 10 professional African-American dance groups. Members of the troupe have received national acclaim, performing at the White House and winning three Mayor’s Arts Awards in Washington as well as four Metro DC Dance Awards.

Step Afrika! gives dance performances, but they also offer educational programs. Through their programs they hope to teach young people team-building techniques and promote cross-cultural awareness and understanding. They ultimately hope that the Step Afrika! program will encourage students in their studies and lead to heightened academic success.

Friday’s performance will blend many styles of dance, and students are welcome to participate in an optional hour-long dance lesson after the performance. Steinke notes that there will be “lots of opportunities for students to learn.”

Carter McKay-Epp, a sophomore and member of the Campus Activities Council, said students should be prepared to participate. “You have the opportunity to interact with the performers,” said McKay-Epp. “People need to go… [and] be proactive.”

Steinke is excited for students to have the opportunity to get engaged with stepping and to interact with the campus on a broader scale. Steinke said, “It does not stop with the stepping. It does not stop with the dancing.” She is hopeful that this performance will encourage community-building across the campus, both Friday evening and beyond.

Step Afrika! will perform on Friday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. in the Umble Center. Tickets are available at the Welcome Center. GC students can attend for free by presenting their student ID at the welcome center.