For Immediate Release:
March 01, 2004
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367
Step It Up: Body Music
The Exploratorium presents Step It Up: Body Music, a dynamic day devoted to the art and sound of stepping. It includes a live performance of stepping, a dance form that combines elements of military drill with contemporary jazz, hip-hop moves, and cheerleading, by Iota Phi Theta, an African-American fraternity, on Sunday, March 7 at 2pm. At 1pm, Step Show, a film showcasing the award-winning Kappa’s, an African-American fraternity at UC Berkeley, screens in the Exploratorium’s McBean Theater. Both events are included in the price of admission to the Exploratorium.
In stepping, the body takes the place of the drum. Clapping, slapping the hands against the body and stomping feet produce the complex rhythms for the dance; synchronized movements, singing, chanting and verbal play form the music. Developed as part of the initiation process and a form of competition between many African-American sororities and fraternities in the mid-1950’s, stepping is now also a popular activity for children and teens. It was widely popularized for the first time in Spike Lee’s 1988 film School Daze. Stepping first emerged in response to the prohibition of drums in slaveholding areas and later evolved into its current form. Many of the rhythms and communications within stepping come from African-American oral traditions such as call-and-response, signifying, and improvised verse.
Steppers at the Exploratorium include members of Iota Phi Theta’s local chapter, which includes students from UC Berkeley, San Francisco State, and San Jose State. Founded in 1963, this predominantly Black social service fraternity is the nation’s fifth largest, and is dedicated to scholarship, leadership, and brotherhood among men of color.
The film, Step Show (24 minutes, 2001), showcases the award-winning Kappa’s (an African-American fraternity at UC Berkeley), their step dancing competitions, and their competition for visibility on a campus where fewer than 5% of the students are African-American. Step Show is directed by Marissa Aroy and Beverly Ogden.
Step It Up: Body Music is offered in conjunction with The Accidental Scientist: Music (www.exploratorium.edu/music), a new award-winning Exploratorium website that enables the public to play — and play with — music. The website lifts the lid on music’s underlying science. On the Accidental Scientist: Music site, the public can use video of a step dancer to compose music while experimenting with beat, tempo, polyrhythm, meter, and phasing.
Hours of Operation & New Evening Hours
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm; every Thursday evening adults only (ages 18 and up) 6pm-10pm.
$25 for adults, with lower rates for SF Bay Area residents, youth, seniors, students, teachers and the disabled. Tickets available at the door and advance tickets available online at www.exploratorium.edu/visit/tickets.
The Exploratorium is easily accessible by public transit. Convenient parking is available nearby. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit/location-directions.
About the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is the global leader in informal learning, igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages. The world-renowned science museum creates original, interactive exhibits, on display at more than 1,000 science centers, museums and public spaces around the world. Dedicated to education reform in and out of the classroom, the Exploratorium is a premier professional development center for educators and a creator of award-winning educational resources. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has influenced generations of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, teachers, students, children, museum professionals and everyday doers, reaching nearly 180 million people annually from around the globe. On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium opened at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's Embarcadero, where it will celebrate a new era of experiences that encourage critical thinking and awaken wonder for generations to come. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit.
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367