A DC dance troupe with roots in the experience of blacks on US college campuses will deliver a virtual performance to mark Juneteenth becoming a national holiday.
For the first time, Juneteenth will be celebrated as a national holiday, and a DC dance troupe with roots in the black experience on US college campuses will offer a virtual performance to mark the event.
Afrika stage! performs what is known as “stepping,” a genre that developed in the early 1900s among members of the black sororities and fraternities that make up what is now known as “the divine nine. “
C. Brian Williams, Founder and Executive Director of Step Afrika !, explained what step is.
âWe define step as a very energetic, polyrhythmic and percussive form of dance created by African-American students. “
Williams, a Howard University alumnus, said the dance style is “folk dance.” It is a ritual; it is a traditional dance.
This Saturday June 17th, Step Afrika! provides a free virtual performances which will feature three choreographed pieces, including a tribute to Little Rock Nine – the black teens who entered Arkansas’ all-white Central High School three years after the Supreme Court ruled that separate education was illegal in 1954.
When it comes to the teenagers who faced angry crowds to get to school, Williams’ admiration for what these nine youngsters went through is clear.
âI’m really happy that my artists are paying homage to them with this performance,â he said.
Williams said it was exciting to be able to deliver the virtual performances that will crown the day.
âThe month of June is, in a way, the second independence day of the United States. Because when July 4th happened, it was not about the freedom of all its people, âhe said.
Williams said that much of United States history has not been explored and that Juneteenth was just the beginning of righting some historical and systemic wrongs in the country.
He also said there was a growing interest in untold stories in American history and he was delighted people understood it more.
âI hope people are open to that, to learning,â said Williams.
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