A spirited crowd packed Lisner Auditorium Saturday night to dance and cheer for the groups performing in Alpha Phi Alpha’s sixth annual Step Show. GW alumni group Delta Sigma Theta, one of the three sororities participating, took the grand prize of $1,000.
Eight historically black fraternities and sororities from New York to Virginia performed traditional African step dancing under this year’s theme, “Stepping in Tradition.”
Each group told a story about tradition, and performances ranged from the tradition of stepping to the history of an organization, and the chronology of African-American culture.
Students from schools all over the District filled the auditorium to enjoy the show and support the cause.
The event raised almost $5,000 for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, which is leading the effort to fund and build a monument to the civil rights leader on the National Mall.
“The performances were very creative and I enjoyed it,” said Howard University junior Nadia Brown.
The rowdy crowd cheered for the performers and members of performing fraternities and sororities chanted their organization’s special dialog to show support.
“A lot of things go into producing a show of this magnitude,” said Talib Hudson, president of Alpha Phi Alpha. “But it’s most definitely worth it.”
A unique style of dance with origins rooted in slavery, clapping, stomping and slapping hands against various parts of the body are the basic movements that create rhythm. Singing, chanting, and verbal play are synchronized along with these movements.
While stepping has always been a part of African and African-American culture, it became popular in the early 1900s when fraternities began stepping.
Stepping is now a tradition in historically black fraternities and sororities, and every Greek organization has it’s own special move.
Listed as No. 4 on the “101 things to do at GW” list on the Planner Interactive, the step show grows more popular every year.
The group had a step exhibition during Midnight Breakfast last semester and plans to hold another show this spring.
Senior Sean Witter said he has been attending the annual step shows since his freshman year. He said this year’s show was one of the best shows the group has had.