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PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY AND IRVINE BARCLAY THEATRE PRESENT ONE OF THE TOP 10 AFRICAN AMERICAN DANCE COMPANIES IN THE WORLD, STEP AFRIKA!
IRVINE, CA (December 20, 2023)—The Philharmonic Society of Orange County and Irvine Barclay Theatre present one of the top 10 African American dance companies in the world, Step Afrika! on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, 8pm, at Irvine Barclay Theatre. This program includes choreography by Jakari Sherman and Jackie Semela. Audience members are invited to participate in pre-show activities at 7pm in the Irvine Barclay Theatre lobby for a Distinctive Experience—with complimentary light-bites of authentic African cuisine prepared by Lynda’s African Delicacies and a pop-up performance of Afro-Fusion/Afrobeat dances by UC Irvine’s West African Dance Group. Step Afrika! will also engage with students from Ladera Ranch Middle School for Sounds Around the Globe on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, 10am. Sounds Around the Globe allows school students to attend a concert and engage in performances that feature musicians and ensembles from around the globe. This event is a part of the Eclectic Orange Series sponsored by the Jelinek Family Trust.
Founded in 1994 by C. Brian Williams, Step Afrika! is the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Williams first learned to step as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.—Beta Chapter in the Spring of 1989. While living in Southern Africa, he began to research the percussive dance tradition of stepping, exploring the many sides of this exciting, yet under-recognized American art form and founded Step Afrika! Under Williams’ leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s cultural exports, touring more than 50 countries across the globe.
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. 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! also 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, D.C.’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); Excellence in an Artistic Discipline (2012); performed at the White House for President Barack Obama and the First Lady; and was inducted into the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) Hall of Fame, the first Dance Company to earn this honor.
Irvine Barclay Theatre is located at 4242 Campus Dr, Irvine, CA 92612. Ticket prices start at $45 and are available at the Philharmonic Society box office at (949) 553-2422, online at www.philharmonicsociety.org, at the Irvine Barclay Theatre box office at (949) 854-4646 and online at www.TheBarclay.org.
ABOUT THE PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY:
Founded in 1954 as Orange County’s first music organization, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County presents national and international performances of the highest quality and provides dynamic and innovative music education programs for individuals of all ages to enhance the lives of Orange County audiences through music.
Since its inception, the Philharmonic Society has evolved and grown with the county’s changing landscape, presenting artists and orchestras who set the standard for artistic achievement from Itzhak Perlman, Gustavo Dudamel, Yo-Yo Ma, and Renée Fleming to the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and many others. In addition, the Philharmonic Society celebrates multi-disciplinary performances under its Eclectic Orange brand and embraces music from a wide range of countries with its World Music performances. Its celebrated family concerts introduce children to classical music with creative and inspiring performances, instilling music appreciation for future generations.
The Philharmonic Society’s nationally recognized Youth Music Education Programs, offered free of charge, engage more than 100,000 students annually through curriculum-based music education programs that aim to inspire, expand imaginations, and encourage learning at all levels. These programs are made possible by the Committees of the Philharmonic Society comprised of 500 volunteer members who provide more than 90,000 hours of in-kind service each year. As a key youth program, the exceptional Orange County Youth Symphony and String Ensemble provide top-tier training to the area’s most talented young musicians through multi-level ensemble instruction, leadership training, touring opportunities, challenging professional repertoire, and performances in world-class venues. The Philharmonic Society also promotes life-long learning by connecting with colleges and universities to conduct masterclasses and workshops and providing pre-concert lectures to introduce audiences to program selections.
ABOUT IRVINE BARCLAY THEATRE:
Irvine Barclay Theatre is a 750-seat “jewel box” theater renowned for its intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics. Since opening its doors in 1990, Irvine Barclay Theatre has developed into one of California's most imaginative performing arts showcases, welcoming more than 2.6 million patrons over the last 33 years to an impressive array of varied performances by internationally recognized artists.
A unique collaborative venture between the City of Irvine, the University of California, Irvine, and private donors, Irvine Barclay Theatre is operated as an independent 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.
Irvine Barclay Theatre is located at 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, California 92612 adjacent to UC Irvine. For tickets or more information, please visit TheBarclay.org or call (949) 854-4646.
(949) 553-2422, ext. 105
(949) 553-2422, ext. 230