NPHC gets in step with audience

The party to be at last week was the National Pan-Hellenic Council’s (NPHC) annual Homecoming Step Show on Saturday, Oct. 2, featuring crews from four fraternities and two sororities as they stepped their way to glory in front of a sold-out crowd.

Stepping is a traditional American dance that stems from college students in historically black fraternities and sororities, combining house unity and dance. The dancers’ bodies become percussive instruments via stomps and claps, and the crew together provides the rhythmic movements and chants to complete it. Each act at this show was segmented, each time changing style and tempo according to their story and what about their house they were representing.

Brian Tyson, president of the NPHC, kicked off the show and introduced the emcees of the night: Atlanta’s DJ Iceberg and HOT 107.9’s E.T. and Famous, who collectively galvanized and elicited calls from the audience between acts.

First to the stage was Omega Psi Phi fraternity with a Terminator-invasion-themed performance and a frequent chorus of barking from other Q-Dogs in the audience. Next, Zeta Phi Beta sorority stepped with a workout tape theme, getting “amped, pumped and excited.”

Finally, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity stepped, or rather, stylishly stumbled and crawled, as zombies invading Atlanta; a dancer acting as a news reporter segued into the autotuned remix of “Bed Intruder” to “hide your kids, hide your wife” from zombies.

After intermission, Tech alumni music group The Heroes! brought the audience back to its feet—not that they left them the whole night—with their performance of rap-rock-electronic fusion songs.

Members Jamieson Jones (also known as “Mister Xavier”) and Wynton Montgomery (also known as “Wally West”) founded the group to counter the mainstream music’s “lack of revolutionary, inspiring production,” according to their website http://www.doheroesexist.com.

Starting the second round of dance, Phi Beta Sigma fraternity made a tribute to the Boom Boom Room club of the middle of the century. Next, Delta Sigma Theta sorority brought a Jumanji-themed step to the show, where segments moved from a single woman with low-tempo movements to a fast-tempo ensemble. Finally, Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity rounded out the competition.

With shout outs to individuals leading a segment of their act, trading calls between members on and off stage, thunderous applause and cheering after acts, there was no shortage of unrestrained excitement and support from the audience the entire night.

“Some organizations are really close while others actually have a brother-sister relationship,” said Farzeen Tejani, member of Delta Phi Lambda and fourth-year ARCH major. “Many performances are ended with calls so that all the brothers or sisters can show their support. Some sound similar, but the best way to distinguish the sorority calls from one another is to listen for the pitch and the tune it is done in. The fraternity’s calls are more distinctive.”

While the judges—who were students from NPHC fraternities and sororities—tallied their votes for the winner, the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) sororities Delta Phi Lambda and Lambda Theta Alpha performed a unity stroll.

“I created the idea for the joint performance with Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc., where both of our organizations took turns performing one of our own performance strolls, then a short culturally choreographed stroll and then a unity stroll with both of us,” said Ashley Dong, a member of Delta Phi Lambda Sorority and a third-year IE major. “I mostly headed up preparing for it. I choreographed my sorority’s strolls, met with two girls from LTA to choreograph the unity stroll and, of course, was on stage that night.”

After the unity stroll, E.T. and Famous announced the step show’s winners Alpha Phi Alpha, for the third time, and Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

“Attendance to this year’s show was consistent with the last two shows, but I believe the addition of the musical acts as well as effort each team put into their shows made this year’s performance the best so far,” said Kia Benion, the chairperson of the 2010 Homecoming Step Show and a third-year BC major.

The Georgia Tech Black Alumni Organization, Auxiliary Services, Student Government Association and Student Affairs sponsored the show, while Benion and the Ferst Center staff provided backstage support.

NPHC sororities Alpha Kappa Alpha and Sigma Gamma Rho did not compete in the show this year, but they were still very instrumental in making the show a success, according to Benion.

Also at the Ferst Centre, Step Afrika!—a stepping group based in Washington, D.C.—will make its appearance next Jan. 29.

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