Stepping first started in the early 1900s as an African-American tradition. Step Afrika came to perform at Pittsburg State University to share this tradition with both fraternities and sororities on campus.
PSU senior in construction engineering technology Nathaniel Simmons is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, as well as an avid stepper.
“I love stepping, I just started doing it and it is a huge passion of mine, I really feel strongly about it,” Simmons said. “That is why it was so important for us because it was a great opportunity being able to open up for Step Afrika. It meant a lot to all of us especially being a small chapter to come out and open up for such a big performer was really great.”
Gorilla Activities Boards (GAB) issues and ideas committee chair Sumner Mackey, junior in political science and communication, played a huge role in organizing Step Afrika this year.
“From my experience this is the second time we have brought Step Afrika here,” Mackey said. “This event means a lot because GAB is all about inclusion and bringing everybody together for one event. Our mission it to have activities that include everyone and bring everyone together so everyone can get involved. By having an event like Step Afrika that brings the community and students together it goes above and beyond what our focus is and puts everything into action.”
Professional dancer Keira Harley, and a member of Step Afrika, has big hopes for the art of stepping and its impact on college campuses.
“Step Afrika is a huge deal because stepping started with fraternities and sororities so it definitely can show them both that stepping isn’t just for college, it can be taken onto a main stage and made theatrical,” Harley said. “This is our full time job so we get paid to travel and step and I hope that fraternities and sororities understand the history of stepping and want to learn beyond what they learned and saw in the show and understand its more than just the movements. Stepping is a bonding thing, its a community thing, it brings people together, it is all about having pride. So hopefully after seeing this show they will want to enhance that sense of pride and just want to do better.”
As Alpha Phi Alpha is new on PSU campus, they have a lot of building to do, according to members. However, Simmons believes that through stepping, Alpha Phi Alpha can get the recognition they need, even after he graduates.
“After I graduate I hope they continue to bring Step Afrika back and they continue to let Alpha as we continue to grow on campus, to let them open up and perform as we continue to show our light in front of everybody,” Simmons said.