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Step's Junk Funk
Step'sjunkfunk
Information
Sex Mixed
Act Dance/Percussion Duo
Seasons 11
Position Reached None

Step's Junk Funk was a dance/percussion duo act from Season 11 of America's Got Talent. It was eliminated in the audition round.

Background

Step’s Junk Funk is the merging of percussion and movement arts, making music with the body and with found and recycled objects. Founder Step Raptis began to experiment with junk funk in the late 1970s while living in New York, where he would find items in the streets to play for dance classes.

Step’s Junk Funk was founded by Step Raptis, who began to experiment with junk funk in the late 1970s while living in New York City. He would find items in the streets that could produce tonal sounds, and would use those items for accompaniment in dance classes and performances. For several years he has collected a huge arsenal of found items for a real Junk Funk Orchestra. Since 2003, Step’s Junk Funk highlights have been performing with students from Sacaton Middle School on the Gila River Indian Reservation for the community’s “Sober Challenge Day,” the Andy Warhol (one man show) produced by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA) for their outreach program, and the Salt River High School performing arts class on the Pima Indian Reservation. Step’s Junk Funk has appeared in the Arizona Dance Festival since 2006, and was commissioned to perform at the Governor’s Awards Luncheon for the Arizona Office of Tourism in July 2008. On the Artist Roster for the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Step’s Junk Funk is available for community and school residencies, lecture demonstrations and performances.

Step Raptis, originally from Detroit, Michigan, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Choreography & Performance from Mary Grove College in 1976. He also trained and/or performed in New York and Canada with National Ballet of Canada, Le Groupe de la Place Royale, Toronto Dance Theatre, Danny Grossman, Louis Falco, Jennifer Muller and Christopher Hyde. While in New York, he also worked at Concordia College and NYU’s Tisch School of Dance.

Step has been a music accompanist for many dance companies from all over the U.S. since 1975. He was a co-founder of Adzido-West African Folkloric Drum and Dance Company under the direction of master drummer, Uncle C. K. Ganyo from Ghana. And he has performed with many musical groups including: Down Boy, Chant, Zingaro, Caribbean Cruisers, Mixit World Beat, and most notably, Dr. Bombay (Contemporary Jazz), opening for Al Jarreau, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Rippingtons, Spyro Gyro, and more. He currently performs with several music ensembles including: Meadowlark (World Music), Mango Chutney (India Western Fusion) and Caravan (Flamenco Fusion).

On the artist roster of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Step has provided outreach programs to schools and communities throughout Arizona and the Southwest. He is highly recognized for his outreach residency programs for at-risk student populations. The Scottsdale Cultural Council honored Raptis with the Chairman’s Circle Arts Award in 2000 for Artists/Educators of the Year. Step also received the Teen Spirit Award from Motivating the Teen Spirit and Empowering the Human Spirit Foundation. [1]

Lisa R. Chow, originally from Greenville, Mississippi, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Arizona State University in 1988. In 1990, she received ASU’s Outstanding Alumna award for “A Tribute to Ethnic Women in the Arts and Sciences.” She has studied many modern dance techniques such as Graham, Horton, Nickolais, Cunningham, and Hawkins. Ms. Chow serves as Desert Dance Theatre’s artistic director, company manager, choreographer, performer and educator, and has toured with the company throughout Arizona, Mexico and neighboring states since 1983. Lisa has choreographed for the company’s repertory and major multi-disciplinary theme-related works as well as for children’s programs in collaboration with String Sounds (String Quartet). She is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Crossroads Performance Group with her husband Step Raptis, performing interdisciplinary music and dance projects throughout the state of Arizona and regionally since 1989.

Lisa was the first Vice-President on the board of the Arizona Dance Arts Alliance, and since 2000 has coordinated the Annual Arizona Contemporary Dance Festival, currently called the Arizona Dance Festival. Lisa was a coach/consultant for the “Galef Institute and Different Ways of Knowing” that provides research-based, field-validated school improvement services and products. She has been nominated for the Arizona Governor Arts Award for Arts in Education in 2004 and 2005. She is one of the founders and Vice President of the Arizona Dance Coalition, a newly formed web-based non-profit organization that supports dance resources throughout Arizona. [2]

Audition

Step's Junk Funk's audition in Episode 1103 consisted of dancing and hitting ordinary household objects such as kettles and cups as instruments. Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell all buzzed the act. All four judges voted "No," eliminating the duo from the competition.

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