In 1998, South African performer/producer Richard Loring started a school for disadvantaged South African youth interested in performance. When CNN decided to broadcast its millennial festivities, on New Year’s Eve, 1999, from the prison cell where Mandela had been held at Robben Island, Loring’s troupe was invited to perform.

The performance, broadcast around the world, became the launching pad for African Footprint. Dubbed "the Riverdance of South Africa, African Footprint tells the vibrant and diverse history of South Africa through a blend of Afro- and Euro-centric music and dance – African drum, the soulful saxophone, the haunting pennywhistle, Kwela-jive, traditional gumboot, tap, contemporary ballet, and hip-hop pantsula – with a cast of 30 performers. The show comes to the Patriots Theater in Trenton on Friday, February 1.

Since its splashy conception, African Footprint has played for seven years in South Africa, two and half years touring Europe, as well as numerous engagements throughout Australia, China, Israel, and India. Enjoyed by over 250 million viewers around the world, South Africa’s longest-running show kicked off its American tour at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans on November 1, marking the city’s first major theatrical event since Hurricane Katrina.

African Footprint, Friday, February 1, 8 p.m., Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, Memorial Drive, Trenton. Afro and Euro-central music and dance. $22 to $35. 609-984-8400.

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