Fraternities and sororities stepped up to see who would reign supreme in Binghamton University’s second annual step show, “Watch the Throne.”
The Binghamton National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) hosted and organized the event Saturday in Downtown Binghamton’s Forum Theatre.
Six Greek life organizations belonging to the NPHC competed at the event. The teams were composed of organization members from various universities. Rather than represent a specific university, each team represented their organization.
The winning teams, the Zeta Phi Beta sorority and the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, were awarded $1,000. Every team was granted a trophy for participation.
Twenty percent of the night’s proceeds went to the Broome County Urban League.
Ambre Avery, public relations coordinator for Binghamton University’s NPHC, said stepping is a type of dance originating in Africa and was co-opted by the 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.”
According to Marcel March, a Binghamton University professor, the teams were rated in various areas of stepping.
“Contestants were judged on a series of categories from entrance, showmanship, sportsmanship, precision and appearance,” March said.
Teams varied in size, having six or eight members. A panel of eight judged the step show, including Greek Life representatives, step team leaders and a Binghamton University professor.
Lamar Heston, an alumnus from Hofstra University, stepped for Alpha Phi Alpha’s team. Heston said this was his second time in Binghamton for a step show, and he looked forward to returning.
“We’re definitely going to come back if we can,” Heston said. “We’ve got some new members on the team and we’re trying to cultivate them. We’ll definitely come back to show love, Binghamton has been good to us.”
Although March said he was disappointed by the lack of originality by some of the teams, he commented on the originality of others.
“Some groups most certainly had stand-out features, from the funny and witty yet precise stepping of Alpha Phi Alpha or the creepy mental hospital vibe the ladies of Zeta Phi Beta gave,” March said.