Step Afrika!: 'STONO'

Step Afrika!: 'STONO'

April 10, 2021 at 7:30 PM
Streamed Performance

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The first professional dance company dedicated to the tradition of stepping, Step Afrika! celebrates the pursuit of freedom, deeply embedded within the American experience, in their latest virtual production, STONO.

On September 9, 1739, the largest insurrection of enslaved Africans in North America began in South Carolina on the banks of the Stono River. Twenty Africans marched south toward a promised freedom in Spanish Florida, waving flags, beating drums, and shouting ‘Liberty.' One year later, when Africans lost the right to use their drums through The Negro Act of 1740, they began to use their bodies as percussive instruments in response. This act of cultural survival and activism earned them the name of "Drumfolk," and gave rise to some of the country's most distinctive art forms including the ring shout, tap, hambone, and stepping.

Fueled by the artistry and traditions of these art forms, Step Afrika! ensures that this little-known yet history-altering movement is recognized for its transformation of African American life and culture and honors its place in the story of America.

This presentation of STONO will be followed by a live discussion featuring Founder and Executive Director of Step Afrika!, C. Brian Williams, Professor of History at College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University, Jonathan Nash, actor, dancer and choreographer Desiree Clark and moderated by Executive Director of Fine Arts Programming at College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, Tanya Gertz.

If you’d like to learn more about the Negro Act of 1740 and it’s lasting impacts, click here.

Step Afrika!: STONO Program

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Step Afrika!: STONO Academic Guide

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Learn to Step with Step Afrika!

Get moving with the professionals of Step Afrika!  This virtual beginner workshop will explore the elements of stepping.


Funded in part by Arts Midwest Touring Fund:

Arts Midwest Touring Fund

This engagement is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from The Minnesota State Arts Board and the Crane Group.