By K.J. ADLER
With over 400 people cheering them on, eight high schools and three fraternities stepped, clapped and danced in unison either to recorded music, without music, or simply to the rhythm of their own chants.
High school and collegiate step teams from all over Virginia met at Dodd Auditorium on Feb. 7 to compete in UMW’s 20th annual Step Show Competition.
Along with a combination of creative, quick moves, many of the teams also introduced their routines with short skits that were thematic in their costuming and cheers.
As they performed, the audience would shout out words of encouragement and exclamations as the teams performed difficult moves. During instances where the teams paused for a few beats, often in noticeably uncomfortable positions, the crowd called out:
“Hold it! You got it!”
“I wish I could join a step team,” UMW senior Caitlin Butter said at intermission. “I wish I could move like that. I love this competition. It’s so entertaining. I come to it every year.”
The Step Show Competition was sponsored and run by Women of Color and Brothers of a New Direction (BOND).
This year President of BOND Bryant Taylor ‘09 and WOC President Krystal Jackson ’10 helped to host the event with MC Clifton Taylor.
“I think we had a great turn-out though I thought our UMW participation was low,” Taylor said. “I think the audience had a great time and learned a lot about stepping, which is an interesting part of African American culture, and also learned about African American Greek life.”
The first half of the competition was between high schools Green Run, Central of Lunenburg, Chancellor, Gar-Field, NVU’s Icons, King George, Courtland, Herndon, and Potomac.
The second half of the show was between the Fraternities Omega Psi Phi from James Madison University, Alpha Phi Alpha from Virginia Tech University, and Phi Beta Sigma from Virginia State University.
Potomac High School’s group, Prestige, dressed as movie theater workers and with movie themed props and sound effects, stomped and clapped in surprisingly intricate movements.
The Courtland High Steppers matched in Army fatigues and performed a part of their routine blindfolded.
Team Essence from Gar-Field began their sketch in doctor coats and scrubs, looking over a patient who had had a heart attack. As they stepped, they chanted about the importance of having heart.
At the end of the competition, certificates for most original steps, best dressed, most difficult choreography and, best showmanship were awarded in both the high school and colligate divisions. Potomac and Alpha Phi Alpha each won a first place trophy for best overall performance.
“There was a lot of energy this year,” senior Lauren Colson said. “It was very hard to get it to turn out like this. It’s difficult to get colleges in here because we are so small and don’t have any fraternities of our own.”
While UMW does not have its own step team to compete, it has been hosting the Step Show for 20 years with the intention to get UMW more involved in multi-cultural events.
With the step show competition at a close, both WOC and BOND will continue to participate in various Black History Month Events for the rest of February.
The next on the schedule is a discussion hosted BOND Feb. 12 about the documentary, “What Black Men Think,” which will be led by Clarence Tweedy, professor of English.