College dance groups step it up

24 Sep 2005 | Lance Cpl. Brandon R. Holgersen

Six groups of students strutted their stuff at the 2nd Annual All Star College Step Show at Goettge Memorial Field House here Sept. 24.

The Beta Epsilon chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. won first place and a cash prize of $1,000 after an energetic routine where the group dressed up as old men complete with grey hair and beards and performed to popular urban songs of the 70s.

The prize money goes toward scholarship funds, charitable organizations and projects that each chapter works on, according to Col. Grover Lewis, the commanding officer for Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools at Camp Johnson.

Step is rhythmic dance that can be set to music or done without music where the performers feet set the beat. It is very big in the black community, according to Lewis.

Black Fraternities and Sororities started performing these dances in the early 1900’s and the style has continued to gain popularity since then, according to Jacob Evans Jr. boss of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Jacksonville chapter. This is a means for them to compete and show their talent and release a lot of energy.

Even though the dances gained popularity in the 1900’s the dances are dated back even further to Africa, according to 1st Lt. Brian Stewart an Omega Psi Phi.  

Each of the groups competing came from different fraternity and sorority chapters from different area’s of the state. Each group was judged on precision, showmanship, creativity, overall performance and costume.

The groups had 13 minutes to display their skills and prove to the judges that they deserved first place.

The atmosphere in the gymnasium was electric with excitement as good music reverberated through every chair, floor plank and ceiling beam as each group performed.

The Beta Nu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha took second place with a country western theme involving a showdown with a sheriff and bandit and won $500 for the performance.

The Theta Alpha chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha won third place with a pink panther/ secret agent theme to their dance routine involving closely choreographed moves and walked away with $250.

The competition and dance was a way to celebrate music, dance, culture and heritage while raising money for different charities and funds.