What is Stepping?
Stepping is a percussive and highly-energetic art form that started in the United States in the 1900s among Black fraternities and sororities as a way to express their pride and solidarity. In stepping, dancers use their entire bodies as drums to create contrasting rhythms, called polyrhythms.
Watch this performance by members of the Soul Steps dance company, called “Hands Up!”, which was created “to reflect the fight for freedom and life that so many young people of color face in America today.”
Introduction and Performance Video
South African Gumboot
Illustrated History and Interactive Dance Lesson
A similar art form that is thought to be one of Stepping’s biggest influences is South African Gumboot Dancing, which began in the mines of South Africa in the late 1800s as a way for miners to communicate with each other.
Explore the history of South African gumboot dancing with Maxine Lyle from Soul Steps, accompanied by illustrations from Rashad Malik Davis, and learn a traditional gumboot dance.
Complete the SPAC-tivity Page for This Lesson
Interactive Dance Lessons
Choose your skill level, and learn a Step routine from one the four video lessons below
Intro Level Step lesson is recommended for ages 6-12 and students with no prior dance experience.
Advanced Level Step lesson is split into two videos – part 1 and part 2!