by Kiera Przygoda, Bailey Ly, and Maddie Mae Sasse
“Stepping is essential in the NPHC experience.”
We spoke with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. president Taylor Washington to understand the role stepping plays in the organizations within the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).
What is stepping?
Stepping is a form of dance and body percussion using a mixture of claps, stomps, movement, and footsteps creating rhythm and sound. It combines hip hop, tap, break-dancing, and Afro-Carribean dance styles.
This combination of various steps and movements create routines that are commonly produced by organizations of the National Pan-Hellenic Council:
If you want to experience and witness the prideful culture and support the African American community, join us at the 20th Annual Southeastern Stomp Fest on Friday, November 1 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Auditorium!
What is the history of stepping?
Stepping originated in South Africa where workers used their boots and shackles to create rhythmic sounds and motions in order to communicate and connect with each other. The immigration of African and South African students to America created a space of belonging that influenced the culture of NPHC organizations.
Why is stepping important?
Washington explains, “Stepping is essential in the NPHC experience. I’ve been stepping since I’ve joined my sorority and I’ve always enjoyed stepping.”
Many NPHC organizations in the early 1900s participated in greek song and dance as a call and response to uplift audiences. NPHC organizations use stepping to show pride and unity in their group. Each organization has its own routine that represents their history and pride. NPHC organizations use stepping to convey their message, what they are about, and their values. Stepping is important because it’s a way to connect and share parts of Black culture. It displays hard work, a sense of community, and cultural pride.
Want to experience stepping firsthand?
The Annual Southeastern Stomp Fest is an annual homecoming event hosted by the Black Cultural Program Committee (BCPC). It showcases high energy stepping performances by NPHC fraternities and sororities. Washington adds, “Stomp Fest is an awesome experience, a time where NPHC organizations share what they are about and their best steps, stepping, and steppers.”