Step to the beat!

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Photo by Rachel Chea '17

Featured: Le Moyne’s Step Team

Chelsea Nowak ‘14, Staff Writer

Le Moyne’s Step Team is getting ready to hit the ground running for their first shows of the year coming up this fall. The team of 26 total dancers makes up the audition-only group, and has quickly become one of Le Moyne’s cultural gems.

Stepping or step-dancing is a form of percussive dance where the dancer’s entire body is used as an instrument. Complex rhythms and sounds are produced through a mixture of hand claps, footsteps and spoken word. The dance can be performed individually or with a choreographed group. Stepping is based on a long and rich tradition in African-based communities that use movement, words and sounds to communicate allegiance to a group. It draws movements from African foot dances, such as Gumboot, originally conceived by miners in South Africa as an alternative to drumming, which was banned by authorities.

The stepping tradition in the United States grew out of song and dance rituals practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities, beginning in the early 1900s. It is now a truly amazing audio and visual performance.

Everything about stepping is very dramatic, over-the-top and precise. It really touches on teamwork and bonding, which are some of the principles of brotherhood and sisterhood that these organizations are all about. Stepping has been highlighted in movies, such as Stomp the Yard, School Daze, Mac and Me, Drumline and How She Move.

This year’s president of the team is Shawna-Kay Salmon and the vice president is Andria Hutter. The two are very excited for this year and are happy about how well the team is coming together.

“We are a club on campus that promotes unity and teamwork through our organized rhythms and sounds,” Hutter said.

Last year, the Le Moyne Steppers performed several times on campus including the at Le Moyne Student Dance Company’s shows. They put on their own stepping production of “The Wiz,” which proved to be a big hit. During the show, they also had a stepping contest, and invited steppers of all ages to come up and show their skills on stage.

This group is very welcoming, and includes people from all sorts of backgrounds to join.

This year, they are starting the Dolphin Steppers Challenges., and their first challenge is open to all Le Moyne students. They are looking for someone to create a design for the front of their t-shirts, giving the winner of this contest a free t-shirt displaying their creation, as well as a $25 gift card.

Their next performance will be at the Latino Banquet on October 26. They will also be performing at LSDC’s fall show on November 21, 22 and 23. The step team may also have a couple of surprise performances, and they are working to partner along with other schools to do joint performances.