September 1, 2010

“Passport to Culture”: Step Afrika! and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center release a Teacher’s Resource Guide about The Spirit of Kwanzaa

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Passport to Culture: Teacher’s Resource Guide

The Spirit of Kwanzaa: Step Afrika!
Released in partnership with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, September 1, 2010

“In the Spirit of Kwanzaa, Step Afrika! performs dances that have been influenced by African tradition. In all the pieces being presented, the dancers use their feet, hands and voices to create exciting rhythms; they play several rhythms at the same time and incorporate call and response. Sometimes the dancers perform to drumbeats, but in most of the pieces being presented, the dancers make the music with their bodies.

Kwanzaa is a non-religious, African-American holiday that celebrates African culture and values. The holiday, which has grown to be a worldwide phenomenon, was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chair of the Black Studies Department of California State University in Long Beach, California. Dr. Karenga established the holiday in 1966 in an effort to revitalize, preserve, and promote Pan-African culture and foster a sense of pride and community among Africans and people of African descent around the world.


Celebrated from December 26 to January 1, Kwanzaa offers African-descended people a time to be together to rejoice in their heritage. The word Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits.” Dr. Karenga chose Swahili because of its significance as a Pan-African language.



In order to appreciate the meaning and significance of Kwanzaa, one must understand the Nguzo Saba or The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa. The Nguzo Saba teaches the fundamental African values that are the building blocks of family, community, tradition, and culture. On each successive evening of the seven-day Kwanzaa celebration, activities, especially in family settings, often focus on one of The Seven Principles.”

VIEW THE FULL 2010 Resource Guide HERE

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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