Central Library Hosts The Art of Stepping with Mr. Chris on February 21

Chris Reid

The stepping tradition is a popular song and dance ritual practiced by African American fraternities and sororities on college campuses across the United States. At 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 21, the Central Library Youth Department will host The Art of Stepping with Mr. Chris, a Black History Month program designed to give a brief history and demonstration of the art.

The program, to take place in the Story Castle on the 2nd floor, will be led by Chris Reid, a part-time Library Assistant III in the Central Library. Reid learned how to step as a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity at Alabama State University.

"We will talk about the art of stepping past and present," Reid said.

Stepping is a popular part of African American artistic and cultural heritage. In stepping, the body is used to create rhythms and sounds through a combination of footsteps, claps, and the spoken word.

In addition to talking about his experience stepping while in college, Reid will show videos sharing how the roots of stepping stem from traditional African dance, including the "Gumboot Dance" originally conceived by miners in South Africa as an alternative to drumming, which was banned by authorities.

Read more about the African origins of stepping by clicking here.