Greekdom to step, stomp in Northrop

Fraternities and sororities from three states will meet to ‘dance off’ on campus.

Members of traditionally black fraternities and sororities will ‘stomp the yard’ Saturday when Northrop Auditorium hosts a step competition.

Six fraternities and sororities will face off in the step competition, with three fraternities and one sorority representing the University. The other teams are from Milwaukee and Omaha, Neb.

where to go

fifth annual Midwest Greek Step Show
what: Stepping competition
when: 6 p.m. Saturday Doors open at 5 p.m.
where: Northrop Auditorium
Cost: $15

The Midwest Greek Step Show began in 2003 as a fundraiser to support the Urban 4-H/ACE (A Commitment to Excellence) after-school minority youth program when budget cuts hit, said Delphanie Daniels , coordinator of the show.

The program helps to prepare minority students for the Minnesota Basic Standards Test, Daniels said. All proceeds from the step show will be donated to this program.

Jason Gale, a University alumnus representing Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, said stepping is a form of dance in which the sounds and moves are created with a series of hand claps and foot stomps.

“It’s rhythmic dance, so it sounds nice to the ears, but when you’re on stage, it’s a nice performance to look at as well,” he said.

Kappa Alpha Psi’s step team adds another signature move to its stepping by tapping with canes.

University alumnus Quinton Bonds of Alpha Phi Alpha said stepping comes from the soul, with historical roots tracing to Africa.

“The workers used stepping for communication as well as just to keep their spirits up,” Bonds said. “Stepping is still, in a sense, doing that today.”

Charlie Blackwell , a fourth-year physics graduate student and step master of the brothers of the Omega Psi Phi, said being on a step team teaches members discipline.

“Stepping is working together, being able to sacrifice to get things accomplished,” he said. “Stepping is about having a goal and a drive to succeed.”

For the past four years, Bonds’ fraternity has won the step show. He said there’s a lot of pressure to live up to what they’ve done in the past.

“We have a ‘four-peat’ going,” he said.

Though they compete with each other, the University fraternities and sorority are united against the out-of-state teams, Gale said.

“You can’t have somebody come in from another school, into our yard … and beat you,” he said. “It’s a slap in the face.”

Now in its fifth year, the step show has evolved, starting

in the gym at Richard Green Central K-8 School in north Minneapolis, moving to North High School and finally, for the first time, at Northrop Auditorium.

Gale said he thinks this is going to be the best overall show ever.

“Northrop is the same place they hold graduation,” Gale said. “Not only can you step here, but you can graduate here.”

Daniels said, “There’s no better place to have it than to have it on campus, where ‘greekdom’ starts.”

-Freelance Editor Yelena Kibasova welcomes comments at [email protected]