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Step competition creates unison on and off the stage

Published: November 15, 2012, 12:48 am ET
Collegian Reporter

The annual Stepping 101 competition, which pits the five Panhellenic sororities at Richmond against one another in step dance battle, will be held in the Alice Haynes Room at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 29.

“It’s really exciting to watch,” said Addie Pfeiffer, a senior Delta Delta Delta participant in this year’s competition. “Plus, it promotes the unification of the Greek organizations on campus.”

Senior Antoine Waul, president of Alpha Phi Alpha, the host fraternity, said each sorority participating would have 12 minutes maximum to perform its step moves in an organized act, in reference to this year’s theme, “Comics come to life.”

It is important for the audience to value the philanthropy within the competition, Waul said, an overseer for the competition. Proceeds from the evening go toward the national philanthropy efforts for Alpha Phi Alpha, the winning team and the second-place team.

“Aside from philanthropy, it’s just really fun for everybody,” Waul said. “It’s bridging a gap that has existed between different fraternities and sororities for good competition and really brings the whole campus together.”

Practice has already created bonds between different Greek organizations, Waul said. Each sorority has been paired with a step master — a student from either Richmond or another Virginia university who knows the required dance — who teaches the sorority participants the dance.

Senior Virginia House, a participant for Pi Beta Phi this year, has been learning her routine since fall break from her two step masters: seniors Jade Strachan and Jazmin Gooding.

For the first month, the team practiced every day for two to six hours, House said, but since then has met only once a week to keep everything fresh.

Strachan, a member for Alpha Kappa Alpha, said the training had taken a lot of time and effort, but it had all been worth it to create relationships with members of Pi Phi.

“One of the best things has been bonding with everyone in Pi Phi,” Strachan said. “At the very least, this competition allows me a few more faces on campus to say ‘hi’ to.”

The bonding is also crucial for the synchronization of the dance because the members of the group must stomp their feet and clap their hands in unison, she said.

“It’s all about musical patterns and making rhythms and beats with the sound of your body,” Strachan said. “We want to make it one coherent piece.”

House said that step dance had a lot of similarities to choreographed dance, but also had a few stark contrasts.

“Instead of a streamlined dance, you learn individual steps that get repeated at least three times,” House said. “The most important thing about stepping is being super precise and having everyone synchronized because half of how you perform is how you sound.”

Contact reporter Scott Himelein at scott.himelein@richmond.edu

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