With thighs full of bruises and several late nights filled with little sleep, five sororities are a day away from showcasing their stepping routines during the Stepping 101 competition, hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. 

Stepping 101 is a philanthropy event that benefits the charity March of Dimes, a non-profit organization aimed at improving the health of mothers and babies. 

The theme of the competition this year is "Made in the 90s," which each team is expected to showcase in every aspect of each performance. This includes picking matching outfits and songs that are all from the 90s.

The five participating sororities include Delta Gamma, Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta and Delta Delta Delta. The teams have spent two months practicing an 8 to 12 minute routine that will consist of stepping mixed with dancing.

Alpha Phi Alpha president Michael Amanuel, RC '18, said stepping is a type of dance that uses the body to create sound, and can be characterized by the actual stepping of the feet.

“Stepping is a cultural art form,” Amanuel said. "It plays an important part in the fraternity because it is a dance that they perform in public but it also helps the fraternity brothers bond with one another."

The step show is a way for Alpha Phi Alpha to share their culture with other greek organizations that are not a part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) or the council of historically African American sororities and fraternities, Amanuel said.

“We bring the Divine Nine and the cultures that come with it,” Amanuel said. 

The Divine Nine is the name for all nine of the greek organizations that are a part of the NPHC.

Greek members from the UR chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta, as well as members from nearby Virginia Union and Longwood universities, have been acting as step masters for each of the competing sororities.

“Stepping can be difficult, but it has been a lot of fun learning about a tradition that is so important to NPHC's organizations,” Rachel Bochner, WC '17, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta's team, said. 

The Delta Gamma (DG) team is being trained by a member of Longwood’s Alpha Phi Alpha chapter. Because of the distance, however, Hannah Mills, WC ’17, has been leading DG's team on the days that their step master cannot make it.

“I jumped at the first opportunity to be step captain,” Mills said, who participated in Stepping 101 in 2015, the last time the event was put on. 

As an experienced dancer, Mills said she values the bonds that stepping has allowed her to form with her sorority sisters while learning difficult routines.

“A step routine is kind of like a story that you tell throughout the entire routine,” Mills said. "Stepping involves a lot of team coordination, and even though everyone is at different levels of experiences, all that matters is that we have fun."

The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday in the Alice Haynes Room, located on the bottom floor of the Tyler Haynes Commons.

Contact social media manager Abby Muthoni at abigael.muthoni@richmond.edu.

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