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Photo by Nate Howard
A member of the Iconz community step team
at the Steppin’ for Success step show in Raeford.

Greeks support area stepshow

By Hannah Simpson
Around the Town Editor

Rhythmic stomps and hand claps echoed through the small gym at East Hoke County High School as the step team Beta Phi Beta performed a familiar step at the regional step show on Oct. 27 in Raeford.

“You’ve got to be smooth to step like us,” shouted the team in unison as they slid across the floor.

The beginning of Beta Phi Beta’s performance was familiar to those in attendance of UNCP’s homecoming step show, where the Sigma fraternity followed a story line involving a shooting and stepped on a table while it was lifted into the air.

Beta Phi Beta, a Hoke County community step team, performed the same beginning routine, which was taught by several Sigma brothers, who advise two of the youth step teams.

Phi Beta Sigma fraternity attended the competition in support of the teams they mentor, Beta Phi Beta and Epsilon Phi Epsilon.

Phi Beta Sigma President Enrico Warren said Both Epsilon Phi Epsilon and Beta Phi Beta have advisers who are Sigmas.

The entire fraternity has helped set up step shows for youth in the surrounding area since the 1980s.

“It’s like a tradition,” Warren said. The Sigma fraternity also collaborated with the Steppin’ for Success program to get youth step teams to perform at the first homecoming stepshow in October.

Epsilon Phi Epsilon, which is the resident East Hoke High School step team, dressed as clowns and performed a step as marionettes and puppet masters, sweeping up the first place trophy in the middle school division, beating the current state champions, Delta Phi Omega.

Beta Phi Beta’s rendition of the Sigma’s homecoming step earned them second place in the high school division, behind the current national champions in the Steppin’ for Success program, the Blaque Queens.

Overall, seven teams attended the competition from across the state.

The champions of the national competition in the Steppin’ for Success program, the Blaque Queens from Dudley High School in Greensboro, NC, entered the floor as a mixture of Freddie Krueger’s and Jason’s from the popular horror movies.
They used fake claws and bloodied swords to fight

and weave their way throughout their routine, earning first place in the competition.

“This is my team, these are my sisters,” Mollie Jenkins said after her team was awarded first place.

“[The win] is for the family,” Jenkins continued.

Jenkins echoed the sentiments of many of the students, who said they would like to become involved in fraternities and sororities during their collegiate careers.

“It’s like being in a miniature fraternity or sorority,” said Jasmine Taylor, 14, of Epsilon Phi Epsilon.

Gabriella Baldwin, 15, of Epsilon Phi Epsilon, added that stepping was a way of expressing oneself.

Ebony Joyner, 18, of the Iconz step team, said, “People dance to the music, but [steppers] have the beat in their head.”

Many of the step teams performed to clips of familiar songs such as Soulja Boy, the Perculator, Walk it Out.

The sole elementary contestant, Mighty Saints, stepped so hard that two members lost a shoe and several broke, ripping off their shoe laces.

“Stepping is about discipline and working hard,” said Bruce Stanback, vice president of the graduate chapter of Phi Beta Sigma.
Stanback said it was important to support the youth in the program to keep them off the streets and help them make successful lives.

With 10 minutes to perform their steps, the contestants were judged on a five point scale in seven areas: appearance, creativity and originality, precision, difficulty, intensity, traditional stepping and overall performance.

Some contestants incorporated dances, splits and flips into their routines.

Epsilon Phi Epsilon won first in the middle school division, beating the current state champions Delta Phi Omega from Rocky Mount Preparatory Middle School.

The current national champions, the Blaque Queens, took first, while Beta Phi Beta earned the second place trophy. The Fayetteville community step team Iconz took the third place trophy.

The Mighty Saints from Rocky Mount, NC won first in the elementary category. The Envy Us steppers from Rocky Mount, NC also participated.

The next preliminary step show will be held Nov. 8 in Rockingham.

The Steppin’ for Success program began in 2000 and works with students to help develop discipline, listening skills and teamwork.

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Updated: Sunday, November 4, 2007
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