Performance includes explosive new work by Step Afrika!, crowd favorite Dem’ Raider Boyz, and four talented step teams from Maryland, Virginia, and New York
(North Bethesda, MD) – Strathmore, a premier arts center in the Washington, DC area, and Step Afrika!, the country’s first professional dance company dedicated to the African American tradition of stepping, will present Step Xplosion on Juneteenth—Monday, June 19—at 7pm in Strathmore’s Music Center. The show, now in its 8th year with Strathmore, honors stepping’s rich roots in the Black fraternity and sorority experience and its presence in the daily and future lives of students.
“As the oldest African American holiday in the country, Juneteenth can also be considered America’s second Independence Day, and the 19th of June has always been both a day of reflection and celebration,” says C. Brian Williams, Step Afrika!’s founder and executive producer. “Step Afrika! is one of the most celebrated African American dance companies in the world, and we are honored to partner with Strathmore on this day to bring communities together to mark the end of slavery in the United States.”
This year’s Step Xplosion will feature the local premiere of The Movement, a new work choreographed by Step Afrika!’s assistant artistic director and longstanding performer, Conrad Kelly II. It’s an epic tribute to Black Lives Matter and the domino effect of activism experienced in 2020. Embodying the passion and power of protest, the piece demonstrates how one can become many as we step towards social justice. The Movement has been performed live only one other time, in New York City, and Strathmore and Step Afrika! are excited to premiere the work at home in the DMV.
Additionally, Step Xplosion will feature DjG, the Disk Jockey General, and dynamic performances from some of the most exciting and innovative middle school, high school, and college step teams in the region: Virginia State University NPHC All-Stars (Petersburg, VA); Brooklyn Divas (Brooklyn, NY); Dem’ Raider Boyz Step Squad (Greenbelt, MD); Blue MaDness Stroll Team (Bowie, MD); and Fatal Attraction Step Squad (Baltimore, MD).
“Step Afrika! continues to energize and educate us in remarkable ways,” says Joi Brown, Strathmore’s artistic director and vice president of programming. “The Strathmore performance scheduled for Juneteenth will be another mile marker in our robust partnership with Step Afrika! It will feature not only the return of in-person regional step teams selected by Step Afrika! but also the regional premiere of The Movement—an extraordinary celebration of determination and resilience.”
In addition to the show, Strathmore will offer two 30-minute pre-concert step workshops on Monday, June 19, at 5:30pm and 6:10pm in the Music Center, led by Step Afrika! performers and guest artists. Open to all ages and skill levels, the workshops will cover the history and basic techniques of stepping. Admission is included with purchase of show ticket, but RSVPs are required.
“We are delighted to offer another pathway into the electric experience of step with all-ages workshops prior to the performance,” says Lauren Campbell, Strathmore’s vice president of education and community engagement. “Our nearly decade-long partnership with Step Afrika! has always included robust educational outreach—including step residencies at Montgomery County Public Schools—and community participation, which are core commitments of both organizations.”
Strathmore is a multidimensional creative anchor in the community, where everyone can connect with the arts, and artists can explore their full potential.
A 501(c)3 nonprofit, Strathmore presents hundreds of performances, visual arts, and education programs, annually, for diverse audiences on its Montgomery County, Maryland, campus and in the community.
All of Strathmore’s facilities are Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accredited.
Tickets for Step Xplosion and other Strathmore performances are on sale now and can be purchased online at strathmore.org or by calling the Strathmore Box Office at 301.585.1050.
Director of Communications