Soul Steps has performed nationally and internationally, presenting its work to communities from Brooklyn to Kosovo to Ireland and beyond.
Soul Steps speaks the language of rhythm. Founded in 2005 by dancer, choreographer, and producer, Maxine Lyle, the company is based in the New York City area and showcases the African-American dance tradition known as “stepping”. Their mission is to expand the presence of stepping throughout the world while creating avenues for cultural exchange and awareness among diverse communities. For over a century, step dancers have used their bodies as percussive instruments to create a new physical language that inspires, celebrates, and forges community. Soul Steps brings this explosive art form to the stage in a high-energy performance that combines percussive movement, hip-hop rhythms, and call and response. Soul Steps’ performances, residencies, and educational programming are suitable for all ages.
From school workshops in Brooklyn, to partnerships with U.S. Embassies throughout the world, to Paris Fashion Week, to a cameo in an indie rock band video, Soul Steps embraces every opportunity to expose diverse communities to the magnetism and dynamic power of step. Their credits include a feature in the Diesel Jogg Jeans promotional video, “The A-Z of Dance;” the historical Rick Owens runway show during Paris Fashion Week 2013; 2012 Abok I Ngoma International Dance Festival (U.S. Embassy sponsored trip to Cameroon); Joyce SoHo, Every Little Step, a collaborative piece performed with Dance Theatre of Ireland (New York); Stepping in Remembrance, a U.S. Embassy commissioned September 11th commemorative piece, (Dublin); the Skena Up International Film and Theater Festival (U.S. Embassy sponsored trip to Kosovo), the New York Musical Theatre Festival (2007 and 2011), the Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Series; and a nationally aired MTVU promotional video. Soul Steps was named the 2010 Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities Cultural Artist of the year and was described in the New York Times as giving a performance that “excels in cross rhythms” (November 23, 2011, Joyce SoHo).
Maxine Lyle has been a producer, choreographer, and teaching artist for fifteen years, specializing in African-American step dance. She began stepping at the age of seven in her hometown of Newark, New Jersey and has been performing ever since. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Williams College, where she co-founded Sankofa, the Williams College step team, now in its twentieth year under the official auspices of the Williams College Dance Department. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatrical Management and Producing from Columbia University School of the Arts. She has produced several plays and has also directed a youth theatre ensemble in Newark with the All Stars Project of New Jersey. In addition to her theatrical projects, she remains committed to arts education. She developed and implemented a full-time, accredited step curriculum at Harlem Prep Middle School where she taught for three years. She has also engaged in numerous arts education programming for youth through organizations such as Girls Leadership and The Leadership Program.