This Saturday, the Binghamton University National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) will be stepping into its role as host for its second homecoming step show, Watch the Throne, at the Forum Theatre.
Students from universities around the nation will compete, representing their respective fraternities and sororities at the show.
Lyanne Silfa, president of BU’s NPHC, said the purpose of the step show is to bring awareness to fraternities and sororities that have been suffering after the graduation of prominent undergraduate members.
“We thought is was really important to have this event this year because Greek life has been dying off,” Silfa said. “A lot of organizations have died off, as their undergraduate members have graduated, so they longer have any representation on campus. This is a forum for those organizations who are not on campus to showcase, for undergraduates to learn.”
Amber Avery, the public relations coordinator for BU’s NPHC, said stepping is a type of dance originating in Africa and was co-opted by African American fraternities and sororities and added to throughout the years. Stepping is typically done without music, relying on the performers to improvise and produce their own chants and sounds.
“It is a form of line dancing incorporating hand signs that particular fraternities and sororities have [and] step signature moves, but done in synchronizations,” Avery said. “It’s like a dance performance, but it incorporates stepping, which is rhythm created with your own body.”
Nine judges will decide the winners of Watch the Throne: seven from organizations in NPHC, undergraduate step team captain Joelle Cange and BU professor Marcel March.
According to Silfa, the first-place winners, one fraternity and one sorority, will each win a prize of $1,000, while second-place winners will win $500. First, second and third-place teams will all win trophies. The prize money came from the fundraising efforts of BU’s NPHC.
Avery said the NPHC decided to hold Watch the Throne Downtown this year for the benefit of the off-campus community and alumni visiting for homecoming weekend, as well as to provide an interesting venue for the event.
“Usually it’s on campus, but this year we’re having it Downtown to cater to the off-campus community and for people who are coming to homecoming,” Avery said.
Attendees can expect a fun competition with polished performers and a well-known master of ceremonies, Mr. G.Q., an emcee known for hosting Greek Life functions.
The NPHC organized a step show in 2009, but 2011 was the beginning of Watch the Throne, the annual homecoming step show. The NPHC intends to continue this new tradition in the future.
Jose Perpignan, a BU alumnus, is performing for Omega Psi Phi’s team, OWT Nation, on Saturday night. Perpignan has been stepping since fall 2009.
“Our expectations are to win first place, we’ve been practicing hard,” Perpignan said. “One of our fraternity brothers passed away a year ago. OWT Nation is from him, we’re going to carry his name.”
Tickets can be bought online or at the door. Twenty percent of the proceeds will be given to the Broome County Urban League.