Clarke University, the tri-state area’s School for the Arts, continues its tradition of bringing cutting-edge performers to Dubuque when it presents Step Afrika! on Friday, Feb. 13. Step Afrika!, the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping, will perform at 7:30 p.m. in Jansen Music Hall on the Clarke campus. General admission tickets cost $10 and can be purchased by visiting www.clarke.edu/artsatclarke/stepafrika. For information regarding tickets, call 563-588-6377. “Step Afrika! is sure to amaze and entertain the audience,” said Joe Klinebriel, chair of the Arts at Clarke Committee, which is sponsoring the event. “This is a terrific opportunity for Clarke University to host such a dynamic and talented group. A member of our committee saw them live and thought they were fantastic. Clarke is very thankful to be included in their February tour through the Midwest. We are very much looking forward to seeing live the energy and excitement they bring to the stage.” Stepping is a rising art form and an important part of America’s artistic and cultural heritage. In stepping, the body is used as an instrument to create intricate rhythms and sounds through a combination of footsteps, claps and the spoken word. Stepping is based on a long and rich tradition in African-based communities that use movement, words and sounds to communicate allegiance to a group. It draws movements from African foot dances, such as Gumboot, originally conceived by miners in South Africa as an alternative to drumming, which was banned by authorities.The stepping tradition in the United States grew out of song and dance rituals practiced by historically African-American fraternities and sororities, beginning in the early 1900s. Step Afrika! began as an exchange program with the Soweto Dance Theatre of Johannesburg, South Africa, and has expanded to become a national and international touring company presenting performances, residencies and workshops worldwide. The troupe promotes an appreciation for stepping and its use as an educational, motivational and healthy tool for young people. They accomplish this mission through arts education activities, international cultural exchange programs and performances world-wide.