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BD&P World Stage

Step Afrika!: Drumfolk

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They took away their drums, but they couldn’t stop the beat.

Telling the story of the 1739 Stono Rebellion in South Carolina, Drumfolk explores how this powerful example of Black resistance – and the subsequent backlash from the government, including banishing African drums – forever changed African American life and culture. Without their traditional instruments, African slaves in the southern colonies began to use their bodies as drums – Drumfolk – and the root of contemporary dances like ring shout, tap and stepping was born. Step Afrika! Drumfolk fuses storytelling, theatre, humour, audience participation, and – above all else – powerfully rhythmic dance to celebrate and teach the resilience of Black culture. Join Arts Commons Presents and the BD&P World Stage series to hear the echo of history in some of the most popular, captivating dance forms of today.

Are you a teacher? Click here to learn more about the student show from Step Afrika!.


Drumfolk” has more on its mind than telling a story. It’s above all an expressionist experience, with the enthusiasm and energy to send you soaring into next week.” – Washington Post 

"'Drumfolk' chronicles and celebrates the African American experience in America. This new production is grounded in an extensive investigation into the tradition of stepping and over 25 years of Step Afrika!'s percussive practice. We're thrilled to be sharing this history and artistry with our audiences." - C. Brian Williams, Founder and Executive Director 


Through no simple feat, Step Afrika!’s remarkable celebration gave life to the pulse of a people through the incredible mediums of music and dance. The sheer passion and commitment the company has toward their craft demonstrates why the company has stood the test of time.” – MD Theatre Guide