Kappa Alpha Psi, Sigma Gamma Rho win Step Show

By Gus Bode

Hips swung and feet blurred as fraternity and sorority members and dance groups moved to the fast-paced beat of the music at the Homecoming Step Show on Friday night.

A step show is an a capella, rehearsed, rhythm-based dance that involves chanting, clapping, stomping and moving in synchronization to create a musical beat. The step show is just one of many events hosted by the Alpha Phi Alpha, Beta Eta chapter for Homecoming weekend.

Talia Gilmore, a first-year undecided graduate student from Belleville, said she has gone to the Homecoming Step Show every year since she was a freshman.


“This is what they put on pretty much for the African-American community here, so we can have something to do for Homecoming,” Gilmore said.

As she pointed to the hundreds in attendance, she said this is a popular event each year. The show took place at the Carbondale Armory on Sycamore Street.

“For me, it’s just seeing all the different groups stepping and seeing all my friends come back for Homecoming,” Gilmore said.

Marcus Rice, a freshman from Chicago studying accounting, said he came to the show because he heard a lot of people, especially girls, would come.

“Really, the girls come out to see the dudes, and the dudes come out to see the girls,” Rice said.

He said so many people came to admire the skill and rhythm involved with step dancing.

“It’s straight,” Rice said. “The girls do better than the boys though.”


Arthur Ridgley, a senior from Chicago studying radio-television, performed with the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, the first-place winner of the competition. The group had prepared for more than a month and attended the event wearing white dress pants and shirts with red vests.

Their performance included antics such as spraying whipped cream on pillows and diving head first into them.

“Really, we just try to make up something creative that we’ll get a good response to,” Ridgley said. “A lot of people want to see what the organizations are going to do.”

Sigma Gamma Rho, the sorority that received first place, started their routine with classical music and entered the stage wearing gold formal dresses and waving fans. As their show progressed, they changed into black pants and then jeans while keeping perfect step to the beat.

The crowd cheered as they chanted and clapped in succinct motion while juggling batons.

John Stampley, a senior from Chicago studying electrical engineering, said groups are judged on originality, synchronization and the audience’s response.

“A step show is part of African-American greek history,” Stampley said.

Reporter Laura Teegarden can be reached at [email protected]