Sharing the Joy of Stepping: The Washingtonian names C. Brian Williams as one of Washington DC’s 40 under 40

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On April 1, 2007, C. Brian Williams was named as one of Washington, D.C.’s 40 under 40 by the Washingtonian. The publication highlighted young Washingtonians to watch in politics, arts, sports, media, medicine, and business annually.


Sharing the joy of stepping

Written by Chad LoRENz for the Washingtonian, published April 1, 2007

“Brian Williams knows the power of stepping. It’s more than the energy pulsing from his dancers’ stomping and clapping. By taking performances into schools, the founder of DC’s Step Afrika! has seen youngsters come out of their shells and students get interested in college.


Stepping is accessible,” says Williams, 38. “All you need is your hands, your feet, a little space, and some friends.” What at first just looks like a flashy performance becomes a way of teaching values embodied in the art form: teamwork, discipline, and commitment.


Williams leads the only professional company dedicated to the percussive dance style originating in historically black fraternities and sororities. He learned stepping at Howard University; during a fellowship in South Africa, he realized it had roots in folk dances there.


Since 1994, Williams has built a group focused on spreading this distinctly American art form and its message of cultural exchange. Embassies have invited Step Afrika! to perform and teach in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Brazil. In June the group makes its first trip to Asia.


Williams’s newest piece, Nxt/Step, mixes traditional stepping with video and electronic music. It premiered at Dance Place to good reviews; an updated version will be performed May 30 through June 3 at DC’s Atlas Performing Arts Center.”



Be A Part of Our History

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 60 countries across the globe. To share your Step Afrika! story, visit Step Afrika!'s 30th Anniversary Timeline is made possible by the generous funding of Bloomberg Philanthropies, with additional support from the Mellon Foundation and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

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