The Story of Step Afrika!

Founded in 1994 by C. Brian Williams, Step Afrika! is the world’s leading authority on the artform of stepping. Under Mr. Williams’ leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s cultural exports, touring more than 60 countries across the globe and ranking as one of the top 10 African American Dance Companies in the US.

Step Afrika! 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. Performances are much more than dance shows; they integrate songs, storytelling, humor and audience participation. 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 theaters 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, Innovation in the Arts, Excellence in an Artistic Discipline, and was inducted into the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) Hall of Fame, the first Dance Company to earn this honor. Step Afrika! headlined President Barack Obama’s Black History Month Reception and performed at the first-ever Juneteenth Celebration at the White House. The company is featured prominently at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture with the world’s first interactive stepping exhibit.


Step Afrika! Celebrates 30 Years of Global Influence with the Unveiling of a Dynamic 30th Anniversary Timeline

Kicking off Black History Month 2024, Step Afrika! has partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies to debut Step Afrika!’s Interactive 30th Anniversary Timeline, commemorating the organization’s 30-year history. With the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Digital Accelerator for Arts and Culture, the ambition of this partnership is to help arts organizations stabilize and thrive in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic through strategic improvements to technological structures.

The organization’s history can be explored chronologically, or through one of three lenses; Arts Education, Performances, or Milestones.


Step Afrika! would not be a leading global stepping powerhouse without the artists, funders, educators, staff, and audience members who contributed to our 30-year legacy. We welcome you to contribute to our timeline by sharing your Step Afrika! story today:


Step Afrika!’s mission is to preserve, expand and promote an appreciation for stepping through professional performances and to educate, motivate and inspire young people in and out of school through arts education programs that emphasize teamwork, commitment, and discipline.


As one of the most celebrated African American dance companies in the world, Step Afrika! fortifies our relationships in the communities we serve and highlights our mission to preserve and promote the tradition of stepping. It is our vision to expand programmatic efforts to reach larger audiences.

10 Things to Know About Step Afrika!

  1. Founded in 1994, as an exchange program with the Soweto Dance Theatre of Johannesburg, Step Afrika! is the first professional Dance Company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping. 
  2. Step Afrika! is one of the top 10 African American dance companies in the United States, the largest African American-led arts organization in Washington, DC, and Washington, DC’s only cultural ambassador. 
  3. Step Afrika! has 17 full-time dancers—all college graduates—many who attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and are members of Historically Black Greek Fraternities and Sororities. 
  4. The Company reaches tens of thousands each year through a 50-city tour of American colleges and theaters and performs globally as an official U.S. Cultural Ambassador. 
  5. Step Afrika! engages 50,000 college students across the nation, and teaches teamwork and discipline to 100 kids as part of the Summer Steps with Step Afrika! summer camp, and expands culture-based arts education for more than 20,000 Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia school students each year. 
  6. As part of the world’s first interactive stepping exhibit, thousands experience Step Afrika! at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture each day as part of the museum’s Explore More! interactive gallery. 
  7. In 2021, Step Afrika! entered into a five-year partnership with Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater which provides elevated design support, rehearsal space, and dramaturgical and artistic support for the company in our home of Washington, DC. 
  8. Step Afrika! Founder C. Brian Williams was named a 2022 National Heritage Fellow and is featured in Roots of American Culture: A Cross-Country Visit with Living Treasures of the Folk and Traditional Arts (2022). 
  9. Step Afrika!’s most recent international tours have promoted cultural dialogue and exchange in Jordan (2018), Ghana (2018), Croatia (2019), Ukraine (2019), Zambia (2019), Angola (2019), South Africa (2019), Dubai (2020), Poland (2022), Slovenia (2022), Bolivia (2022), and Kuwait (2023).  
  10. In 2023, Step Afrika! was inducted into the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) Hall of Fame, the first Dance Company to earn this honor. 

Step Afrika!’s Annual Reports

“Thank you for celebrating Step Afrika!’s achievements with us. Across nearly three decades, Step Afrika! has connected generations through the tradition of stepping, and you have been with us every step of the way. As we embark on our next chapter, I look forward to working with you to make a lasting impact.” – C. Brian Williams