Photo by Joseph Echols
The Delta Sigma Theta step team owns the stage to a cheers of approval as they dance to Michael Jackson songs. They were later announced as Clayton State University homecoming step show champions.
By Rachel Shirey
MORROW — Stomp the yard. Own the yard.
And that’s exactly what Greek step teams like the Delta Sigma Theta sorority did when they closed out the show while red glitter fell from their socks, appearing as if the stage was on fire with every step.
Clayton State University hosted its first Homecoming Step Show competition in two years Thursday night at the Athletics and Fitness Center.
Doors opened at 6:15 p.m. and by 7 p.m. the parking lots outside of the Athletics center, Spivey Hall and the Student Activities Center were packed with visitors, making the hunt for a parking spot a competition in its own right.
Attendees sat shoulder to shoulder in bleachers that flanked either side of the stage, while Greek-life organizations had reserved seating in front.
Music bounced off the transformed basketball court walls while students, visitors and community members danced at their seats and in the aisles.
And when the first performers, the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, took the stage?
Cheers, cries and chants roared at a blistering level that increased with every worthy performance.
Four Clayton State step teams and two high school teams stomped the yard while competing for bragging rights, but only two came out on top — Delta Sigma Theta sorority and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
Teams were judged on their creativity and originality, synchronization and precision, degree of difficulty and overall performance.
“They were all good,” Jasma Williams, visitor from Union City. “I’ve been to several step shows, this one was probably not my favorite, but they were all good. I really enjoyed the high school boys. They did real well. Now, they showed a lot of enthusiasm too. That was probably my favorite part.”
The Southwest DeKalb High School Step Team had the surprise performance of the night when they claimed the stage. They moved like one, using every angle and motion of their body to their advantage.
“I had a good time,” Williams said. “It was very live. Everyone enjoyed themselves. They had a lot of crowd participation and the steppers, they all did a good job as well. They were very into it. No one was up there that didn’t want to do it. It didn’t feel forced. It was like everyone was into it because they enjoyed themselves.”
Associate Director for Campus Life Lakiesa Rowlinson said she was proud to see the Greek-life organizations band together for homecoming week to embrace the tradition of stepping.
In previous years, the university was unable to showcase the stepping performances because of low Greek-life enrollment numbers. However, Rowlinson said she hopes to see that change in the future.
Stepping is a style of precision dancing where participants utilize their entire body as an instrument to create rhythms and sounds through footsteps, chants, and hand claps.
“I know that our students worked really hard for a few months practicing,” said Jeslin Harrigan, activities and event coordinator. “I guess from our programing perspective, we’re just glad to see them do well and that the crowd is really engaged in it. That it was just overall a really good show.
Following the show, attendees were invited to attend an after-party in the Student Activity Center Ballroom.
“It was good to see the school spirit around the school, because it’s not really like that, but it was like that here,” said student Deseree Robinson.