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Step Afrika brings culture to campus

It was a night full of energy and a performance worthy of a standing ovation.

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, the Center for Multicultural Education invited the performers of Step Afrika to hit the stage at Missouri Western. The dancers showcased many different styles, from traditional African dances to more modern pieces.

Step Afrika was invited to perform on campus two years ago and students were blown away by their amazing talent. Latoya Fitzpatrick, director for the Center for Multicultural Education, explains why this year’s performance was a little different then last time’s.

“I think the difference between two years ago and this year is the crowd was actually way more engaged and shouting out at them, and that is what helps them put on an even better show,” Fitzpatrick said.

Others who watched the performance had nothing but great things to say about it. Dianah Hidzir, CME program assistant, said that having a show like this available to students on campus for free was something she was really excited about.

“It was fantastic, I think that is the word, because it was my first Step show ever,” Hidzir said. “Considering that I am an international student I’ve never seen something like that ever before in my life, and having the opportunity to go to one not only because of my work, but because I am a student at Missouri Western and having that event brought to us, I think is pretty cool.”

Hidzir explains that college is a great way for students of any culture to become educated on a variety of different backgrounds and beliefs.

“Someone once told me that college is one of the best places to learn about diversity, and also it’s a safe place to be who you are,” Hidzir said. “To define that quote, I think having a lot of events, multicultural events in particular, on campus is very important to prove that that is right.”

Bringing different cultures to campus and providing ways for students to learn and be a part of these cultures is a big goal for CME. Alexis Williams, CME program assistant, explains why this diversity is important.

“I think it’s important to bring different cultures to the university because we are a predominantly white institution, and most people, not just white people but African American too, come from our own community and kind of what we know, so I think it’s good to expose people to different cultures,” Williams said.

“We do have some sororities and fraternities on campus that when they do a show they do the exact same thing almost as far as the stepping goes, but I thought it was good to hear them speak in different languages, and the gum boot thing — I thought it was really good.”

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