Drumfolk at DC’s Arena Stage [Must-See Theater]

Drumfolk has been one of the most entertaining plays I’ve seen in a long time. Find out why you need to purchase tickets now.

Go see Drumfolk. It is 90 minutes of pure energy, and the performance is packed with history, dance, music, and raw emotion. I literally laughed, cried, cheered, clapped, and most importantly… I learned. And, once again, I was reminded that so much of this country’s history remains unknown to most of us. For example, how many readers have ever heard of South Carolina’s Stono Rebellion of 1739? How about the Negro Act of 1740? Exactly. But don’t worry, this musical and dance experience will teach you in the most entertaining way possible.

Drumfolk is a partnership between DC’s Arena Stage and Step Afrika! Through song, drumming, and stepping, the story illustrates that although they may be stripped of their drums, freedoms, and rights, the black people will always endure through a shared culture and history. It is a beautiful, provocative and joyful production that will leave you breathless by the end. I am so glad I got to see this show, and I urge anyone in the DC area to do the same!

Electrifying percussive dance fused with contemporary art forms fuels Step Afrika!’s latest production, Drumfolk, inspired by the Stono Rebellion of 1739 and the Negro Act of 1740 in South Carolina. State laws mandated that enslaved Africans could not assemble or use their drums which were used to signal the uprising. They took away the drums, but they could not stop the beat. This is the rich story of a movement that could not be stopped and transformed African American culture from then to the present day. The immersive production will be the first of three as part of a multi-year collaborative partnership between Step Afrika! and Arena Stage.

Watch this incredible companion video from Jakari Sherman and the current Step Afrika! cast. Experience the music, beatboxing, and all-around creativity you can expect from the full production:

“The Beat” is a riff on Step Afrika! ‘s production of “Drumfolk,” a new work inspired by the Stono Rebellion of 1739. “The Beat” brings into focus the praise house, a central element in Drumfolk, representing a sacred place of assembly, worship and resistance that also nurtured early African American percussive traditions. Jakari Sherman is a passionate choreographer, ethnochoreologist and performer whose experience extends over 25 years. Jakari served as the Artistic Director of Step Afrika! from 2007 – 2014, and is director of the company’s current production, “Drumfolk.” Rooted in the African American tradition of stepping, his work has sought to push the boundaries of percussive dance as a communicative medium by challenging conventional paradigms and exploring the use of technology, storytelling, and diverse musical scores. [Jk]creativ. develops digital, print and live works under Jakari’s creative direction, and based on his passion for design, music, movement and culture.