On Saturday, Feb. 18, the National Panhellenic Council (NPHC) will be presenting a Black History Step Show, where nine international Greek-letter sororities and fraternities will compete for titles and prizes.
“This step show, the Black History Step Show, is basically for all the Greeks on campus to commemorate Black History Month and just celebrate anything in Black History that you want to,” said LaBrecia Jackson, a junior multimedia journalism major from Montgomery and Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) treasurer.
Stepping is a group choreographic performance that features elements of military marching, hip-hop dance moves and traditional African dancing.
“Each organization has a different take on how they step or what they use to do their performance,” said Sadaris Williams, coordinator of student involvement and leadership and NPHC adviser. “The Kappas use canes, the Alphas have a particular way they step, the Omegas have a particular way they step…they call it marching. So it’s pretty unique to each organization—how they come across to the general public.”
Each fraternity and sorority will focus on a specific theme pertaining to Black History Month for its routine. Members of AKA have chosen to base their routine on the lives of celebrated alumni.
“Our theme is based on the new movie that just came out, ‘Hidden Figures,’ ” Jackson said. “We’re doing (our step) based off that because the ladies (in the movie) were Alpha Kappa Alphas.”
“Hidden Figures” follows Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, the African-American NASA “computers,” in their role of securing the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. Like the women in the film, AKAs will march onto the stage in heels.
“It’s a demanding activity,” said Jerel Merida, a junior exercise science major from Jackson and NPHC president, about stepping. “Sometimes we (guys) step way more intense. I know our sororities here can compete on the same level as dudes.”
Merida is a part of Alpha Phi Alpha and will be participating in his first step show this Saturday.
“I’m nervous a little because it’s a competition,” Merida said. “It’s our first time competing, me and my brothers. We participated in step shows, but we never competed in a way. Anxious to see how it’ll turn out.”
Jackson, who stepped in the last year’s homecoming step show, said her first time was challenging.
“It went well,” she said. “It was stressful because we had limited time to practice. We got it together last minute, though. It was a nice show. It was like a magic show.”
The performers at the Black History Step Show will be judged by a panel of eight to 10 judges based on choreography, crowd response, style and other categories, for a chance to be placed in the top three and win money prizes for their organizations.
“First place is $500 for female and male (winning team). Second place is $250,” Williams said. “Their chapter can apply the money however they see fit. So it can apply to their philanthropy or they can use it for a trip to have as an organization.”
Both Jackson and Merida said that in case of victory, their chapters would donate to their philanthropies.
“Come out and get a taste of Greek culture because a lot of people don’t know much about the NPHC, so just come out, get a taste of it and enjoy the show,” Jackson said.
The Black History Step Show will open doors at 6 p.m. in Sartain Hall. Tickets can be purchased at the Trojan Center table from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $7 on Thursday and Friday.