THE SOUNDS AND SPIRIT OF THE STONO REBELLIONStreaming June 5-18, 2021
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
CINCINNATI, OH – Step Afrika!’s powerful, pulsing, world premiere piece, Stono, highlights the spirit of resistance and activism of a part of American history that has often been overlooked. The Cincinnati Arts Association is pleased to present this 30-minute virtual experience, which will be available for streaming June 5-18.
Access to the streamed performance of Stono and a live CANDID CONVERSATION via Zoom on Tuesday, June 8 at 7:30 PM with C. Brian Williams, the Founder and Artistic Director of Step Afrika!, and a variety of local artists is on sale now at CincinnatiArts.org and (513) 621-ARTS . The virtual events may be purchased separately at $6.00 each or in combination for $10.00.
Stono spotlights the largest insurrection of enslaved Africans in North America on September 9, 1739, which began in South Carolina on the banks of the Stono River. Some 20 Africans marched south toward a promised freedom in Spanish Florida, waving flags, beating drums, and shouting “Liberty!” When Africans subsequently lost the right to use their drums, through The Negro Act of 1740, they began to use their bodies as percussive instruments in response, giving rise to ring shout, tap, hambone, and stepping. Stono is based on choreography and content from Step Afrika!’s feature-length production, Drumfolk, returning to stages Fall 2021.
About Step Afrika!
Founded in 1994 by C. Brian Williams, Step Afrika! is the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Under Mr. Williams’ leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s cultural exports, touring more than 50 countries across the globe. Step Afrika! now ranks as one of the top ten African-American dance companies in the United States. Step Afrika! blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African-American fraternities and sororities, traditional West and Southern African dances, and an array of contemporary dance and art forms into a cohesive, compelling artistic experience.
Step Afrika! performances are much more than dance shows; they integrate songs, storytelling, and humor. The blend of technique, agility, and pure energy makes each performance unique and leaves the audience with their hearts pounding. Step Afrika! promotes stepping as an educational tool for young people, focusing on teamwork, academic achievement, and cross-cultural understanding. The Company reaches tens of thousands of Americans each year through a 50-city tour of colleges and theatres, and performs globally as Washington, DC’s one and only Cultural Ambassador.
Step Afrika! has earned Mayor’s Arts Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education (2005), Innovation in the Arts (2008), and Excellence in an Artistic Discipline (2012), and performed at the White House for President Barack Obama and the First Lady. Step Afrika! is featured prominently at the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African-American History & Culture with the world’s first stepping interactive. In 2017, Step Afrika! made its Off-Broadway debut with the critically acclaimed production of The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence. To learn more, visit StepAfrika.org.
Tuesday, June 8, 7:30 PM
Join national and local artists in intriguing discussions about the impact of their work on social justice, community wellbeing, and equity. Presented by the Cincinnati Arts Association, Candid Conversations is an opportunity to start a dialogue concerning the effects of racism on artists of color and arts communities as a whole, as well as the journey toward change.
This fourth in a series of five virtual Candid Conversations, presented by the Cincinnati Arts Association, features C. Brian Williams, Founder and Artistic Director of Step Afrika!, who will be joined by local artists for an honest and open discussion about how their personal journeys and their work relate to the history and practice of racism in our country.
Candid Conversation purchasers receive access to the live conversation via Zoom on Tuesday, June 8 at 7:30 PM AND a link to an on-demand recording which will be available for two-weeks (the link to the recording will be emailed on Friday, June 11).
THANK YOU TO OUR GENEROUS SPONSORS
Ameritas, ArtsWave, Fifth Third Bank,
Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Honda Dealers,
Procter & Gamble Fund, St. Gregory Group, TriHealth
Founded in 1992, the Cincinnati Arts Association (CAA) is a not-for-profit organization that oversees the programming and management of the Tri-state’s finest performing arts venues – the Aronoff Center for the Arts and Music Hall – and is dedicated to supporting performing and visual arts. Each year, CAA presents a diverse schedule of events; serves upwards of 600,000 people in its venues; features the work of talented local, regional, and national artists in the Weston Art Gallery (located in the Aronoff Center); and supports the work of more than one dozen resident companies. Since the inception of its acclaimed arts education programs in 1995, CAA has reached more than 1.8 million students. For more information, visit www.CincinnatiArts.org.
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