Step Up and show your moves

Liz Bos

Liz Bos

February is National Black History Month, and to help celebrate, the Sixth Annual SDSU Step Show is scheduled to take place on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. in Doner Auditorium.

Hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Office for Diversity Enhancement, Black Student Alliance (BSA) and DJ Boss Regis, this year’s step show promises a diverse and educational dance experience, as well as a dance following the show.

“It’s a great dance extravaganza,” said Regis, a junior music merchandising major.

As a kickoff to the weekend, BSA is also hosting comedian Eric Blake on Feb. 6 at 9 p.m. in Jack’s Place. According to Regis, comedians are traditionally brought in the night before the show to help bring people to the step show and to give the step performers a place to get to know each other before the show.

This year’s show is open to the public and is family-friendly.

“It’s something that most of the kids here would never experience,” said James McKinney, senior sociology major and program director.

McKinney, who has been involved with the show for two to three years, said his involvement is “because of my interest in diversity and anything that deals with learning something new about a culture.”

According to McKinney, the step movements are military-like in precision. Each group is very particular about what they do. Therefore, each group has very different routines.

“The way we set up the show is entertaining. There is a lot of hip-hop and R&B music and rhythmic movement through voice and actions.”

Regis compared the dance style to “synchronized swimming on land.” Originally developed by U.S. college students, stepping uses hand claps, spoken word and footsteps to create complex rhythms and sounds.

Most step routines are performed by groups of three or more people. Step routines are usually set to hip-hop music with a good beat. Many fraternities and sororities around the U.S. have step teams that travel to competitions and demonstrations.

“We have gotten to a situation where [step groups] ask to come here,” said McKinney. “There is a lot of credibility behind the show.”

Step groups usually wear similar costumes, such as dress attire or tuxedos. According to McKinney, there is a group that exclusively uses canes for their routine.

“Some groups have slide shows that will be shown behind them,” McKinney said.

The show will feature around 50 performers and some singers from the Midwest area, including Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota. SDSU does not have a step team this year due to a lack of participants but hopes to be able to put another team together eventually. The performers will not actually compete against each other but instead seek to inform and educate people about what stepping is.

“Some groups incorporate the history of African American heritage into their show,” said McKinney. “Others show the history of step or of their fraternity or sorority.”

According to McKinney, at intermission there will be an educational section, including a poem by Maya Angelou.

“I want to give people a chance to enhance diversity,” said McKinney.

Although SDSU does not have a step team this year, the Air Force ROTC drill group will have a performance.

After being involved with the step show for the last two years, Regis will be DJing the show for the first time.

“I’ve wanted to host the show since my freshman year, so my friends passed me the torch this year,” Regis said.

Following the show, a hip-hop dance will be held at Jack’s Place in the basement of The Union starting at 9 p.m. and ending at midnight. Some of the music from the show will be played at the dance.

Regis said that the dance is being offered so people can go and have a good time after the step show as an alternative to going downtown.

“It’s a good time for all the steppers to hang out and talk to each other,” said senior global studies major and BSA president Frehiwot Werede.

Whatever the routine and rhythm, this year’s step show looks to provide a good time for all. Students should make sure to show up early if they go because the show tends to fill up fast, McKinney said.

“We would love your support,” Werede said.

Admission to the show is free with student ID but costs $5 otherwise. Tickets can be purchased at the Multicultural Center in the basement of The Union or at The Union’s Info Exchange desk.