As part of their commitment to diversity by presenting many different voices to their ever-expanding audience, Arena Stage has formed a three-year partnership with Step Afrika! This will begin in the 2021/22 season with the production of “Drumfolk” in to be presented in the spring of 2022. he production is a “rhythmic storytelling of the history of African American percussive traditions inspired by the Stono Rebellion of 1739 and the Negro Act of 1740.”
It is the hope that the partnership of these two award-winners will be a shared artistic commitment to excellence, serving the diverse community in the Washington, D. C area.
The highly regarded Step Afrika! was founded in 1994 by C. Brian Williams and has become one of the top ten African American dance troupes in the United States. They have toured over 60 countries and visited colleges and theatres in more than 50 cities in the United States. They were headliners at President Obama’s Black History Month Reception at the White House and have performed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The troupe “blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities; traditional African dances; and an array of contemporary dance and art forms into a cohesive, compelling artistic experience.”
Molly Smith, Arena Stages Artistic Director states, “This is a fantastic partnership. I have admired Step Afrika!’s work for years and this is an opportunity to bring their work to Arena audiences. Step Afrika! is a distinctive and explosive dance company and a powerful part of Washington’s artistic community. They often tour around the world and Arena is pleased to offer the company a home base. Both organizations will share important resources with each other to create a mutually beneficial relationship, from design to dramaturgy to work online. Arena has had several partnerships over the years, but I’m excited that this relationship with Step Afrika! is for three years since the depth of time will mean a profound relationship between the companies.”
“Step Afrika! is largely credited for bringing the art form of stepping to the American theater, and Arena Stage is by far one of our country’s greatest theaters,” adds Founder and Executive Director of Step Afrika! C. Brian Williams. “This partnership will be an incredible opportunity to develop one of-a-kind productions that can then tour the world. Washington, D.C. is a world-class city for the arts and I look forward to audiences everywhere enjoying the fruits of our creative collaboration.”
Watch for more information from Arena Stage as the new season opens in the Fall of 2021.