Cover for FINE: Soulstepping: African American Step Shows. Click for larger image


African American Step Shows

The first book to detail the history of stepping

Stepping is a complex performance that melds folk traditions with popular culture and involves synchronized percussive movement, singing, speaking, chanting, and drama. Elizabeth C. Fine's stunningly elaborate and vibrant portrayal of the cultural politics of stepping draws on interviews with individuals on college campuses and steppers and stepping coaches from high schools, community groups, churches, and dance organizations. Soulstepping is the first book to document the history of stepping, its roots in African and African American culture, and its transformation by churches, schools, and social groups into a powerful tool for instilling group identity and community involvement.

"Fine's documentation of the more recent growth of sacred and secular step teams outside of the realm of Black Greek Letter Organizations, the strength of her arts and performance-related scholarship, and her discussion of the intersections of African and African American aesthetics make this an important book that adds tremendously to our understanding of an important aspect of twentieth and twenty-first century African American and American popular culture."--Journal of African American History

"The history, culture, politics, and art of this African-American performance artform is examined in-depth; black-and-white photographs embellish this impressive, scholarly, highly recommended contribution to Black American cultural studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists."--Bookwatch

“Elizabeth Fine takes us on a journey of discovery with Soulstepping, all the way back to its African roots and all the way up to our moment. All groups have dance steps that the group performs together for the pure joy of celebrating life. Soulstepping brings out that joy, that exhilaration, that love of life. This celebration is long overdue.”--Nikki Giovanni

“Elizabeth Fine has produced a labor of love. Soulstepping is thorough and true to the African American spirit she discovered more completely as she traveled through history to bring to light this remarkable phenomenon, one that would otherwise exist only for those fortunate enough to have been present late at night perhaps at an African American fraternity or sorority event on an American college or university campus.”--Michael V. W. Gordon, Professor of Music Emeritus at Indiana University School of Music and First Executive Director of the National Pan-Hellenic Council

Elizabeth C. Fine is an associate professor in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Virginia Tech. She is the author of The Folklore Text: From Performance to Print.

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