Javitta teaching step at FACTS. Photo: Toni Shapiro-Phim

Javitta Brockington

Block parties, dance contests, jump rope, stepping, and tag were all happening right outside Javitta Brockington's door in Philadelphia's Germantown neighborhood as she was growing up. Stepping was one of the games girls played on her street. But she wasn't introduced to step as a performance form until her older sister went to college.

It was seeing her sister compete in step shows that caught her interest. "The precision, level of difficulty, and the rhythm patterns all rolled up into this phenomenal action-packed display of skill and practice," recalls Javitta. She ended up joining the same sorority through which her sister practiced stepping, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, when she became a student at West Chester University. In 2005, she performed in her first step show at West Chester, and continued to participate in stepping shows and competitions throughout her years at school. She helped choreograph some of the routines as well.

In 2009, Javitta began to research the origins and history of African American stepping, just as she started teaching step. She's also been working on getting her Pennsylvania general teaching certification. She is a teacher at the Folk Arts – Cultural Treasures Charter School.

Additional resources:

"Community-Based Rhythms Against Violence: African American Marching Units in Philadelphia," by Benita Binta Brown, with Jennifer Michael, Works in Progress 6:3/7:1 (Winter 1993), pp. 16 –21. [Introduction to some African-derived local dance and movement arts, including drill teams, stepping, drum and bugle corps and more.]