Black Fraternities and Sororities The answer to Celebrate Their Culture7273145

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Stepping is a rhythmic performance art practiced by divine 9 nationwide. It combines intricate footwork, foot stomps, hand movements, vocals, and handclaps. Stepping can be 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 can't tell a brother he couldn't step. If he's a negative stepper, he's just going to need to try harder."

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


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

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

"A step can be achieved 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 own style and flair."

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

"Our steps have already been passed down each year through the generations of Sigmas," Bryant said.

"You're creating beauty and dance from nothing but you and your (sisters), which is a special thing," says Ashanti Huey, fourth-year public relations student and member of Sigma Gamma Rho. "On the other hand, this means long nights without any sleep, sweating like crazy and slimming down from the workout."

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

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

Stepping now occurs almost everywhere. College dorms at HBCUs have teams, predominantly White fraternities and sororities may step during Greek Week. Senior 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 from the performance art, Stepping, all step associates agree the dance unifies them and reminds them of the African roots. Because of its reliance on rhythm, it is extremely fascinating to look at groups of young men and women relocating to a single beat in unison, a reminder of the time when all African Americans shared exactly the same pain and heartbreak of days once they were slaves.