Greek step show unites alumni, students


Maggie Boyle

Members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity perform a step routine at the Annual Step Show on Saturday in McAfee Gym.

Tony Komada

T'Nerra Butler, Multicultural Editor

Cloaked in all black and sunglasses resembling characters from “The Matrix,” the men stepped while sitting on the ground with unwavering frowns and yellow lights flashed behind them.

These were the men of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity who performed two theatric step performances; in the second performance, the men had on armor and carried swords with the theme being “300.”

Their frowns and sharp movements won the men this year’s first place prize at the National Pan-Hellenic Council Step Show Saturday.

A couple of the men who recently crossed into the fraternity expressed their thoughts on what step shows bring to Eastern.

Tylen Elliott, a junior communication studies major, crossed Friday and said the step show highlights a positive aspect of the African-American community.

“It helps especially with all the stuff going on in the Charleston area,” Elliott said. “It shows that we’re able to come together and produce something positive.”

Jace Perkins, a senior English major, also crossed Friday and said an event like the step show brings hope to Eastern.

“It shows that we can still come together and have a good time without having any issues and in the mist of all that’s going on, I think that’s important,” Perkins said.

Four Greek organizations stepped this year, which consisted of two sororities and two fraternities. They competed against the other fraternity or sorority for a trophy and a check worth $1,000 in the McAfee gym.

The ladies of Delta Sigma Theta sorority won first place in the sorority section with their theatric step. The Deltas came out in school skirts and shirts, tights and tap shoes.

One of the ladies dressed as a nun and she talked in sync with a recording from the movie “Sister Act,” at one point of their performance they stayed at a school desk and stepped.

Seemingly done, the ladies laid out on the floor, but it was not the end of the performance—as if they were woken out of a deep slumber the women rose again and stepped to their alumna’s satisfaction, they ended the performance with their signature hand sign as their alumni called out their sorority’s chant.

Mark Daniel, a junior sociology major, said the step show lets people know the African-American community can get along.

“It’s a beautiful thing to see everybody come back and see so much spirit because it’s an uplifting spirit,” Daniel said. “It lets you know what EIU used to be, what it can be and what potential it has.”

Dressed in orange jailhouse jumpsuits and sporting blue bandanas came the ladies of Zeta Phi Beta sorority. Beyonce’s “Ring the Alarm,” played with flashing white lights in the background as they began their step.

In their performance the women linked their legs together while forming a circle with their bodies and did a push up. The Zetas then walked to center stage and blindfolded themselves with their bandanas and from there they stepped while sitting down.

By the end of the performance two ladies were standing in their chairs and stepping while the others were on the ground.

Laia Hill, a senior psychology major and Zeta member, said the majority of the time when African-Americans have come together it is positive, but that has not been represented in the media lately.

“This shows that we do have events where violence doesn’t occur,” Hill said.

A red mist clouded the stage, as one of the men from Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity stood tall in a red toga and gladiator shoes. The rest of the men from the fraternity came down the middle aisle shaking their shoulders. The men came out with armored chests and shields, using their traditional red canes instead of a sword.

Slapping the floor with the canes and stomping around, the men finalized their performance in a five-man pyramid with one of the men standing on top shimmying.

The emcee for the evening was DJ BandCamp, returning for a third time to Eastern. He has emceed for artist like Chris Brown and Omarion.

Bright white lights against a black background were seen through the gym as the crowd turned on their cell phone flashes during “Black Out,” which was one of BandCamp’s crowd participation games. Audience members were told to turn on a flash whenever they recognized a song, which soon turned to students and alumni dancing together to old and new songs.

A few special guests were also presented to the audience and had almost as much time as the others who were competing.

The men of Iota Phi Theta fraternity hit the stage from Northern Illinois University. Their chants and steps were seen through a yellow and green haze and at the end of the performance they were stepping with one knee on the ground.

Another guest came from Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, who in her one-woman band, wore a pink jacket and put her hand in face as if it were a mirror. By the end of her performance she swung her hair wildly and earned a call from her fellow sorority sisters.

At the end of the show an alumnus from the Alphas asked all members of the fraternity to the stage and by the end of his speech he presented a check for $3,000 to the Black Student Reunion as well as congratulated his younger fraternity brothers on their win.


T’Nerra Butler can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]