What started off as a traditional African dance processional at Doheny Memorial Library turns into an interactive dance performance in the ballroom of the Ronald Tutor Campus Center. The hypnotizing blue and yellow outfits of the Viver Brasil dancers and drummer ignited what would be an action-filled night for the "And Still We Rise" dance workshop.
There were many interactive dance events throughout the evening, spanning from traditional African dance to a choreographed upbeat Bruno Mars number. One performance that especially stood out was a step routine taught by Vernon Jackson. Step is a type of dance with sharp movements and turns resembling those of a soldier. Immediately taking control over the room with a “Steppers, attention!” Jackson quickly jumped into the extensive choreography.”
Vernon Jackson is known as an icon in the step community partially due to helping step become more of a mainstream dance. He choreographed step routines on iconic shows such as the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “House Party 2”, worked in step competitions, and has his own step fitness film. He says he is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the first African American fraternity, previously having members such as Martin Luther King Jr. “Stepping originated at Alpha Phi Alpha,” says Jackson. He explains how stepping used to be a way to get young African American students to get a higher education. “You couldn’t even step unless you were in a black frat or sorority” Jackson elaborates. The selectiveness of step inspired younger African American students to go to college so they could participate in these popular dances.