GreekScene brings unity, ‘old school’ flavor to show

Malena Amusa

An explosion of dance and song took steps to promote unity and cultural diversity for an audience of about 600 at Northwestern’s annual black Greek step show Saturday.

Ryan Auditorium overflowed with both familiar supporters and others new to the stepping and dancing competitions of black sororities and fraternities.

“The step show showed a positive aspect of African-American Greek life,” said George Spencer, a Communication junior and vice president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

The annual step show, better known as several years. It is coordinated by the recently established NPHC, the governing body for black Greek organizations on campus.

The winners of GreekScene plan to use their $250 prizes to support public service missions. Spencer said he believes that step shows are important for raising money and expanding cultural awareness.

Originating from West African slaves displaced in America, stepping is a series of foot stomps, body and hand slaps demanding syncopation. Stepping often achieves a body percussion drum line and is accompanied by chants.

Members of Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Psi and Phi Beta Sigma fraternities and Delta Sigma Theta and Sigma Gamma Rho sororities put in long hours to make precise, quick foot and hand movements look easy.

“Each group has a step master,” said Lauryn McGee, a Weinberg senior. “We took about five weeks to learn the steps.”

All five participating groups dazzled the audience with 10- to 20-minute routines.

The night was kicked off by the humor of comedian Maurice “G.” A member of black Greek life himself, he poked fun at all of the Greek chapters.

Once the ladies of the University of Chicago’s Sigma Gamma Rho chapter hit the stage, audiences cheered their renditions of old school break dancing and new school hip-hop.

The ladies of NU’s Delta Sigma Theta also took the audience back to school. Dressed in white blouses, matching knee socks and red plaid skirts, they recounted the history of their chapter. The group, which won the step show in 2001, entertained the audience with exclamations of, “Deltas make you go ooh and ahh.”

The three male teams were dressed in suits. Phi Beta Sigma members wore black suits and blue button-down shirts, while the second-place Kappa Alpha Psi men traded blazers for red suspenders and white tank tops.

Alpha Phi Alpha won first place. Audience members applauded the Alphas’ chivalry and spontaneity — not to mention sharp gold vests and black pant suits.

A highlight of the night came when the first-place-winning Deltas wore blindfolds while maintaining precise steps. With few slip ups, the Deltas moved on to achieve what McGee called “something bigger than us.”

“This event was really needed, especially following the racial slurs at CCI,” said Moni Akiwowo, a Weinberg freshman.

Having experienced one of its most racially diverse turnouts, GreekScene was a community event on numerous levels, said Rana Good, a Communication freshman.

“I was totally impressed by the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood,” said Carolyn Fein, a Weinberg freshman. “It was an educational experience. No matter if you’re purple, green, white or black, you’d feel the energy.”