The Deerfield step team performs during halftime of every varsity basketball home game, rekindling a passion for victory in our athletes and eliciting waves of cheers from the audience. There is extensive behind-the-scenes preparation that goes into each halftime in order to ensure their optimal performance at each game.
Like the players they cheer for, Deerfield’s twelve steppers are hard workers, training Monday through Saturday for at least one hour every day. During practice, captain Niyafa Boucher ’18 demonstrates the steps created by previous teams to the others members, who take up to three days to learn and perfect the steps. Before the end of the year, the current team will develop their own routine, which will then be passed on to the next step generation and so on. Not merely “cheerleading in big boots,” step offers its members with an opportunity to bond with each other while striving toward a common goal: defeating the opponent through their display of enthusiasm.
As Abby Lupi ’18 explained, “For one, our yelling and stomping become a performance, and our frustrations, a brilliant show of Deerfield spirit. The team is a family who sweats together, steps together, laughs together, and cries together. And we know how to bring it.”
Xochitl Paez ’20 added on, saying, “Stepping is really difficult. It’s really the team that gets you through it.” She praised the team environment and positivity, saying, “It is always so relieving when we can finish a half time show and just scream and celebrate our successes and laugh off our failures.”
Spectators have a chance to enjoy the artistic side of athletics through step, whose carefully coordinated movements and cheers bring an aesthetic order to the sport hall.
According to Amelia Chen ’18, a spectator at a basketball game last month, “You can tell they [the steppers] put in a lot of practice in order to pull off their routines.”
Over the years, the step team has powered basketball players through their 48 minutes of competition with consistency, and the basketball team deeply appreciates the step team’s efforts. As Colman Shea ’18, one of three varsity basketball captains, revealed, “[The step team] keeps the adrenaline up, and the gym echoes. ‘Pump it up, say what say what’ gets me going, personally.” This high adrenaline, particularly at tense moments, can make the difference between a win and a loss in case
In the words of Sam Powell ’18, another varsity basketball co-captain, “When the score is within 10 points, we know it is the step team that will get us over the finish line.”