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Young Dancers 'Stepping Out' At Summer Camp

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Students taking part in the Washington Performing Arts Society’s Summer Step camp at Anacostia High School.
Armando Trull
Students taking part in the Washington Performing Arts Society’s Summer Step camp at Anacostia High School.

Several dozen teenagers are clapping their hands, stomping their feet and shouting as they do the "Kryptonite" step. They are rehearsing in the cafeteria of Anacostia Senior High School. The youngsters are among 135 kids taking part in the Washington Performing Arts Society's Summer Step camp.

Stepping is an African-American dance form that developed during the 1950s at black fraternities and sororities. Stepping evolved from more traditional dance styles, explains Jakari Sherman one of the instructors.

Aaron Williams, 14, says the past five days have been, a lot of fun. "I've been in many great sessions with the professionals."

Those professionals include Sherman, the artistic director of "Step Afrika," a D.C.-based professional stepping company.

"It's the only one of its kind in the country," says Sherman. "We have a lot of kids coming back this year, and it's really a pleasure to see them and work with them."

That effort is appreciated by 13-year-old Maya Edwards who says, "learning the values of teamwork, discipline and commitment is really good" for her and her peers.

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