Stepping into Black History Month with Step Show

The+Ladies+of+BSA+performed+at+SDSU%27s+16th+annual+Step+Show+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+1.
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Stepping into Black History Month with Step Show

The Ladies of BSA performed at SDSU's 16th annual Step Show on Saturday, Feb. 1.

The Ladies of BSA performed at SDSU's 16th annual Step Show on Saturday, Feb. 1.

The Ladies of BSA performed at SDSU's 16th annual Step Show on Saturday, Feb. 1.

The Ladies of BSA performed at SDSU's 16th annual Step Show on Saturday, Feb. 1.

Wren Murphy, Diversity and Inclusion Reporter

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February is Black History Month, a time to honor African American people and culture. To welcome Black History Month, the Black Student Alliance held SDSU’s 16th annual Step Show.

Step is an African-American style of dance. “It’s a way to showcase our culture through rhythmical stepping,” said BSA President Akeah Aschmeller.

The step show is BSA’s “most attended event,” Aschmeller said. More than 300 people attended the show in the Performing Arts Center on Saturday. This year’s step show featured four out-of-state teams and one SDSU team, the Ladies of BSA. Some teams, like the Nu Epsilon Citywide Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, drove over four hours to get to Brookings.

From logistics to fundraising to choreographing the routine, planning for the event takes time. The Black Student Alliance and all the step performers have worked for months to make it happen.

“We recruit in October and get everything finalized in December, because once January hits, bam, February is right around the corner,” said Kas Williams, BSA adviser and interim director of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Access.

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BSA and the Office of Multicultural Affairs spend $3,000 to $5,000 to put it on. BSA is allocated money by the Students Association and sell tickets to cover the rest. The biggest expenses include the venue and paying the out-of-state teams.

“We really wanted to perform at the SDSU Step Show,” said Delta Sigma Theta performer Precious Fondren. “Some of us are a little more theatrical so it’s a way to put our skills to use.”

Morea Nichols, captain of the Ladies of BSA step team and junior communication studies major, said she starts planning the routine in September when she knows who will be on the team.

Before Christmas, the Ladies of BSA practice for one hour a week, but once the second semester begins, they have to practice for four hours a week, Nichols said. The self-proclaimed “dictator” of the team said the preparation paid off.

“Everyone was nervous, but it went really well,” Nichols said. “We had a lot of fun.”

Semehar Ghebrekidan founded the Ladies of BSA when she was an SDSU undergraduate student and said the team keeps “getting better and better.”

“[The Ladies of BSA] are so much better than I was,” Ghebrekidan said. “I had a vision of what I wanted when I was captain, but they are way more athletic. … they amaze me every year.”

Excel Obi-Okoro, a junior political science and pre-law major, hosted the Step Show for the first time this year. Williams approached her about hosting and thought it was a joke. Afterward, she was thankful for the opportunity.

“The excitement and the connection between the people and the performers,” she said. “There’s nothing that makes you appreciate Black History Month more than that.”

This is only the beginning of Black History Month. There will be a BSA game night 7 p.m. Feb. 13 in Jack’s Place, a Soul Food Luncheon 11 a.m. on Feb. 15 in The Market.

The next week there’s a talk with Michael Taylor, Deputy State’s Attorney for Brookings County on Feb. 19 and an evening with Shaun Boothe where he will celebrate cultural icons through rap on Feb. 25. To conclude, the movie “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” will show Feb. 28 at Jack’s Place.