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South Milwaukee — Step Afrika!, one of the top African American dance companies in the United States, will perform both for the public and for students this week.

The public performance is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, 901 15th Avenue. In addition, Step Afrika! will add a special performance for South Milwauke High School students on Thursday, Nov. 17, from 1:30 to 2:50 p.m.

This will be a highly interactive performance that highlights the rhythm, physicality and history of stepping, and culminates in a group activity to get students on their feet. The program highlights the ties between stepping, college life and academic achievement. It introduces the concepts of teamwork, discipline and commitment.

Performers incorporate world traditions, demonstrated through the lively South African gumboot dance. Students enjoy discovering how dance brings people and cultures together.

Often referred to as cultural ambassadors, Step Afrika! performances integrate songs, storytelling, humor, and audience participation, making each performance special for people of all ages and cultures.

“We chose Step Afrika! for our 2016-17 Performing Arts Series because of the high regard audiences have for their performances and for their expertise using stepping as an educational tool that helps students focus on teamwork, academic achievement and cross-cultural understanding,” said Rachel Sorce, SMPAC executive director.

Founded in 1994 as an exchange program with Soweto Dance Theatre of Johannesburg, South Africa, Step Afrika! became the first professional dance company dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Today, the company tours internationally and believes that the values of teamwork, discipline and commitment that are essential in stepping are also essential throughout life. Performances connect intimately with audiences creating a harmony of positive influences. This group is one of the top 10 African American Dance Companies in the U.S. and the largest African American led arts organization in Washington, D.C.

Tickets are $20 to $40 for adults, $15 to $35 for seniors (ages 60 and older) and $10 to $20 for students (ages 4 through college). For tickets, visit www.southmilwaukeepac.org or call (414) 766-5049.

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