On Saturday, Feb. 16, the Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society hosted its annual “Watch Your Step” competition, where step teams from across the state competed for a grand prize of $1,000. This year, the step teams competing hailed from University of New Haven, City Tech, Howard University, Columbia University and University of Connecticut. “Watch Your Step” has been hosted every year for the past 12 years to raise money for a trip for its members to visit law schools in different states.
“We’re trying to fundraise for our law trip that helps students who cannot afford to go on law trips,” said Faina Belle Simon, a sophomore majoring in philosophy, politics and law. “This year, we’re trying to go to Toronto, but I think exposing the audience to the culture of step teams across the country is really important, too.”
This year’s theme was love, and the walls of the Mandela Room were decorated with pink and red heart balloons. As the audience walked into the Mandela Room, they were asked if they were single or in a relationship. If they were single, they were given a blue glow stick bracelet. If they were in a relationship, they were given a red glow stick bracelet.
Kennedy Stacy, a participant from Columbia University, spoke about how much rehearsal went into their performance for the competition.
“We practiced for two months. We’re just trying to show our step and just have a lot of fun,” Stacy said. “This is actually our first competition.”
In between the performances, the hosts played a trivia game. Five audience members were invited onstage to test their knowledge of ’90s throwback songs.
People were cheering, applauding and screaming throughout the night. Omydka Morka from Organized C.H.A.O.S. expressed how positive the crowd was for the performances.
“I think this was probably one of the best crowds we’ve ever performed for,” Morka said. “Everyone had so much energy and so much love.”
The featured DJ, DJ Benjayy, kept the crowd entertained throughout the night as people danced in the back and on the sidelines. During intermission, the audience was encouraged to mingle and “shoot their shot.”
The teams were judged on creativity, adherence to the Valentine’s Day theme, execution and crowd interaction. Judge and alumnus Christopher Rookwood, ‘16, who was part of Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society’s e-board during fall ‘14 and spring ‘15, expressed that he was pleased with the turnout of this year’s show.
“This show was excellent,” Rookwood said. “I feel like the effort that the e-board put in to bring in different universities was real top-notch. This is the only show that I can really say that each performer really gave their best performances.”
In the end, City Tech won the grand prize of $1,000. University of Connecticut came in second, and Organized C.H.A.O.S. came in third place.
Darian Jarvis from City Tech’s step team said he felt different emotions over the course of the night.
“I felt nervous, but at the same time, I’m proud and confident that I’m stepping with a team that I have full support of, that I have right behind me,” Jarvis said. “I felt great doing it, I felt great afterwards, there’s no doubt that we did our best. We did it together, we did it for love.”