Step Vicksburg!

Story Number: NNS120513-08Release Date: 5/13/2012 9:41:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nick C. Scott, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs

USS VICKSBURG, At Sea (NNS) -- Members of the Step Afrika! percussive dance group performed on guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69) May 12 during their current Navy Entertainment-sponsored tour.

Step Afrika!, based in Washington D.C., performed on Vicksburg and aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) following recent performances in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

"{The response} was great and it was moving to see men and women in uniform with the sea in the background," said Jakari Sherman, creative director for Step Afrika!. "It was great to see troops interacting and having fun, being 'on the edge of their seats' so to speak. They didn't know what to expect but, by the end, everyone was participating."

The dance style of stepping creates rhythmic sounds using the human body as an instrument to create a percussive sound.

It can trace its roots back to the early twentieth century but didn't become popular until the 1950's, when it was used in African-American fraternity and sorority ceremonies on university campuses.

Stepping uses dance and percussive styles that draw from African-based communities, as well as the U.S. military.

"It is very rewarding to be here, and an honor," said Sherman. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I'd do it twice."

Vicksburg's crew did not know what to expect from the dance group, but were pleasantly surprised.

"It's great to be able to step outside yourself and see other cultural things that you may not see very often," said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Seaman Grant A. Durga. "The Navy is very diverse and the great thing about it is that we get to experience so much from other people. I was moved by the artistry of it and it's always good to see people supporting the troops."

During the show, some Vicksburg Sailors got to participate with the dance group and were able to show off some moves to their shipmates.

"I felt a little goofy at first, but they put me at ease with their sense of humor," said Avionics Electronic Technician 3rd Class Brandon Jordanbrehony, who was one of the Vicksburg Sailors that participated in the show. "I enjoyed participating. They have a sense of community and a sense of tradition that made it well orchestrated."

Vicksburg is on her final deployment and is currently operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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