Black Fraternities and Sororities Key to Celebrate Their Culture3391831

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Stepping can be a rhythmic performance art practiced by divine nine across the nation. It combines intricate footwork, foot stomps, hand movements, vocals, and handclaps. Stepping is also an expression of unity.

"When you bond in synchronized motions, you're becoming one," says Aurelius Butler, Treasurer of Alpha Phi Alpha, Mu chapter. "For us, stepping signifies brotherhood. We cannot tell a brother he couldn't step. If he's a poor stepper, he's just going to have to try harder."

Stepping started out from the chants and dances that slaves did to remind themselves of their homelands. You can find stepping wherever you find African America Greek-lettered fraternities.

Stepping is an age-old tradition among black fraternities and sororities. It requires intricate footwork, specialized hand movements, songs and chants. But what is it really about Stepping these college students find so compelling? This is exactly what they're saying:

"Dancing has long been a means of expression in African culture," Reginald Price, a fourth-year business management and marketing student, is part of Kappa Alpha Psi, said. "Over time that it has evolved into stepping."

"A step can be created at any given time," Price said. "A designated step master views step shows from other chapters of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and adds his or her own style and flair."

"To me stepping is a way to show what your fraternity represents through both words and gratifaction," said Marcus Bryant, a fourth-year electrical engineering student and person in Phi Beta Sigma.

"Our steps happen to be passed down annually through the generations of Sigmas," Bryant said.

"You're creating beauty and dance away from nothing but you and the (sisters), and that's a special thing," says Ashanti Huey, fourth-year pr student and part of Sigma Gamma Rho. "On the other hand, it indicates long nights without any sleep, sweating constantly and losing weight from the workout."

Davida Isaac, a third-year early childhood education student and part of Zeta Phi Beta sorority says, "When we step, we're very sharp and crisp with this movements. It may sound like one beat and looks like one movement."

Mastering and performing this dance form can be a traditional area of the initiation process in several African American sororities and fraternities, but stepping has recently become a popular activity for youngsters and teens.

Stepping now occurs almost everywhere. College dorms at HBCUs have teams, predominantly White fraternities and sororities may step during Greek Week. High school and youth groups step, and some church youth groups. Furthermore, stepping is extremely popular with other culturally-based fraternal organizations--Latin, Asian, and multicultural.

Whatever their ideas with the performance art, Stepping, all step team members agree how the dance unifies them and reminds them of the African roots. Due to the reliance on rhythm, it is very fascinating to view groups of teenagers and women transferring to a single beat in unison, a reminder of a time when all African Americans shared the identical pain and heartbreak of days when they were slaves.