Symphony in Step will have its East Coast premiere at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C., from June 5-9, 2013. The dramatic merger of stepping, a percussive dance form developed by African American college students, and classical music features Step Afrika!, a 15-piece symphony orchestra and the largely unknown history of George Bridgetower.
The two-act percussive dance performance has its origins in a 2011 cross-country collaboration with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, but the D.C. series features new work that explores the history of Bridgetower, an Afro-Polish child prodigy and violin virtuoso who toured Europe in the early 1800s and eventually inspired Master composer Ludwig Van Beethoven to compose the famous Kreutzer Sonata.
The first act of Symphony in Step will feature music inspired by Bridgetower along with his teachers and composers, Franz Joseph Haydn and Beethoven, performed on piano, violin and drum and interpreted by Step Afrika!
The second act will feature a 15-piece chamber orchestra assembled especially for this project with professional musicians from across the D.C. area and graduate students from Catholic University’s Classical Music program.
Anchorage Symphony Orchestra conductor Randall Fleischer and Step Afrika! Founder and Executive Director C. Brian Williams collaborated on the score with some original compositions developed by Fleisher while other music came from Step Afrika!’s existing repertoire. Step Afrika! Artistic Director Jakari Sherman responded with the choreography for Symphony in Step, a performance in which rhythmic footwork, body percussion and spoken word is entwined with jazz, gospel and classical masterpieces.
Founded in 1994, Step Afrika! is the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Today, Step Afrika! performs worldwide to promote an appreciation for stepping and the dance tradition’s use as an educational tool for young people. Recent 2013 international performances include appearances in Spain, Italy, Paraguay, Montenegro, Croatia and Latvia.
Based in Washington, DC, Step Afrika! is DC’s first and only Cultural Ambassador representing the city and nation at events around the world. The company completes an annual 50-city tour of colleges and theaters from Maine to Mississippi and is a national model for the use of stepping in schools. Step Afrika! is a frequent partner of the Washington Performing Arts Society and has graced some of America’s most prestigious stages from the White House to the Lincoln Center in New York City.
Step Afrika! Symphony in Step Schedule:
Wednesday, June 5 @8 p.m. (Tickets: $20-$43.50)
Thursday, June 6 @8 p.m. (VIP Gala Performance. All tickets $125 each)
Friday, June 7 @8 p.m. (Tickets: $25-$48.50)
Saturday, June 8 @2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Tickets $25-$48.50)
Sunday, June 9 @4 p.m. (Tickets $25-$48.50)
Tickets are available by calling the Atlas Performing Arts Center box office (202-399-7993, press 2) or at www.stepafrika.com.