The silence of a sold-out show in a theater as large as the Ferst Center for the Arts is almost as deafening as it is quiet.
However, that is exactly what the 14th annual National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Homecoming Step Show achieved as a fully packed audience held their breath as they waited for the first performers to take the stage.
As the spotlight turned onto the stage and the performers took their positions, the crowd watched with wide eyes as the first group, Alpha Kappa Alpha, began their performance with a skit parodying a lab.
Judged on a variety of categories from creativity to precision to showmanship, teams brought their all as they competed for the first place last Thursday, Oct. 6.
When asked to describe stepping, Egheoise Otaigbe, fifth-year EE and president of NPHC, said that “stepping is the use of the body in a percussive-like manner to produce beats. It also tends to be coupled with our verbal calls, and it can be considered more than dancing. In fact, it can be looked at almost like an art form.”
While the Homecoming Step Show is relatively new to campus, the actual practice of stepping has long been a tradition in NPHC.
“This year was the 14th annual NPHC Homecoming Step Show, and its popularity comes from Historically Black Greek Organizations showing pride and spirit in their fraternities and sororities,” Otaigbe said. “It’s hard to trace back its origin, but the significance to Greeks can be traced to the 1900s where members of the NPHC held events such as ‘Greek Sings’ to promote unity.”
With six participating Greek organizations — Alpha Kappa Alpha, Phi Beta Sigma, Alpha Phi Alpha, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta and Kappa Alpha Psi — the Step Show featured performances that were all stunningly choreographed and immensely creative in their own ways.
From a “Toy Story” remake to recreations of the classic spy movie tropes to a hair-chilling rendition of Frankenstein, the Step Show had something for everyone.
And while all the performances were vastly different, they all shared a common thread of unmistakable precision.
At the end of the night, winners were announced separately for sororities and fraternities. For fraternities, Phi Beta Sigma secured the win, and for sororities, Alpha Kappa Alpha took home the trophy.
Otaigbe, also a member of Phi Beta Sigma, highlighted that his favorite part of being in the Step Show was “definitely the feeling of all the months of hard work culminating to a show an audience gets to watch, and I love the energy when the step gets executed precisely by all the participants.”
Conversely, he also mentioned that he also found that very same thing to be “the hardest part of stepping, the precision and coordination required not just for an individual, but the whole group of stepping. It doesn’t matter how great of a stepper an individual is if the rest of the group isn’t clean, so precision and trust are the two most critical and maybe even the hardest part of stepping.” Watching these performers, there is no doubt about the amount of training and hard work that went into this show.
To a crowd of Tech students, NPHC alumni and even young children, the performers of the Homecoming Step Show created an unforgettable experience and truly cemented the Step Show’s place as a treasured Homecoming tradition for all.
Overall, the Step Show is an iconic annual event reflective of a rich culture. Homecoming at Tech truly would not be the same without its presence.