During the upcoming Family Weekend, the Step Team will reach outside the boundaries of varsity basketball games and perform in the arts showcase. At the first school meeting of each year, the crowd chants along when the Step Team performs “Pump it up, say what, say what” While the amount of participants on the team has been dwindling in recent years, the Step Team this year is ready to excite the school with the talents of new members and the creativity of new routines.
Hoping to attract a larger audience, the Step Team held auditions for those who would not be able to participate on the team as a winter co-curricular.
Step Captain Ramona Davis ’17 commented that prior to her freshman year, the Step Team would perform regularly in the showcases. Davis believes that the showcase puts them in “a unique position where they [can] show that normal people [can] do the Step” and she believes that the Step Team can be revitalized to the level it was before.
Step originated during the mid 1900s in primarily African-American colleges as a form of expression using one’s whole body to create rhythmic sounds and motions.
“[Step] is one of the only opportunities for me to honor my heritage by performing an African art form while bleeding green and showing school spirit,” said Zakiya Newman ’17, who has been on the team since her freshman year.
The Step Team is inclusive of all grades and all genders. Commenting on the familial spirit of the team, Athalie Bastien ’18 said, “being with the girls is like a sisterhood, where you’re learning the steps together.” Bastien believes that the bond of the team allows for a chemistry that displays when the team performs at the boys and girls’ varsity basketball games and at the introductory school meetings.
Sharing similar sentiments as Bastien, Logan Knight ’17, who is currently the only male member of the team, explained that “from the moment [he] walked in, everybody was having so much fun and was so willing to teach me and the other new people”.
Since ninth and tenth-graders are encouraged to participate in at least two interscholastic seasons, unless they show talent and depth in other co-curricular activities, many students do not branch outside of the sports, which with they are familiar with.
“Students at DA often have to choose between the athletics and the art, but step in many ways provides crossover between the two”, said Niyafa Boucher ’18, who believes that Step fulfills the components of a rigorous athletic sport as well as the artistic aspect to the performing or visual arts.
For the fall Family Weekend showcase, the Step Team will add music to their usual routines. While Davis praises the amount of support shown for the team’s performances, she believes that “the Step Team doesn’t feel the love” outside of school pep rallies. Davis, along with the other senior members of team, aspires to leave a legacy where anyone who is passionate and enthusiastic about the team can perform in future showcases.