Fusing together step dancing, rhythmic motion and the spoken word, the X-Fact’r Step Team brings a fresh dance style to Binghamton University.
Derived from roots in African culture, X-Fact’r’s name stands for “Expressionism of African Culture Through Rhythm.” The dance team strives to educate the community about the history of Africana culture in an entertaining way. To achieve this goal, the team performs at various multicultural events on campus such as the Culture Shock dance competition, the Black Student Union Homecoming Fashion Show and the Multicultural Extravaganza.
The team is currently comprised of all female members, but X-Fact’r is an inclusive dance team open to all genders, races and sexualities.
“As long as you want to step, we’re here,” said Elise Morris, the vice president of the club and a senior majoring in English.
Founded in 2001, the team was the first non-Greek-affiliated club on campus for step dancers to perform. The team provides the same close-knit social aspect as Greek life but in the form of a group fully dedicated to step dancing.
What makes X-Fact’r different from other dance teams is its style. Focused on the art of step dance, in which dancers create intricate sounds and rhythms with their bodies through precise footwork, clapping and movements, the team makes its own music through the beats of the energetic motions used.
“We bring personality; we bring life with the steps,” said Davina Campbell, president of the club and a junior majoring in mathematics.
Since music doesn’t usually accompany their dance routines, every movement and spoken phrase has a specific purpose and must be executed flawlessly. Without background noise, there is more pressure to have a perfect performance because mistakes are more obvious.
Each performance is a high-intensity workout, and X-Fact’r is an extremely committed team. They practice every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., every day for several hours when there is an upcoming performance and they meet on Sundays for a general body meeting. Dedicating so much time to the organization, the members of X-Fact’r have developed a family oriented community. The dancers depend on each other not only while performing and practicing but also for advice about academics, emotions or any problems they have.
“It’s literally like having 18 sisters,” Campbell said.
“We call ourselves step sisters,” Morris added.
The group takes the attitude that the intimacy of the members is vital to the fluidity and success of the dances. When everyone has the same mindset and dedicates the same amount of intensity to the performance, the movements become much more natural and smooth, explained Campbell.
For Campbell, being part of the team has not only boosted her confidence and self-esteem, but has also given her helpful skills in the classroom. She explained that her experience on X-Fact’r has improved her public speaking, made her more outgoing and given her organizational and leadership skills.
“X-Fact’r is the glue to the pieces that are broken,” Campbell said. “It’s what helped me become who I am now.”
Much more than a club, X-Fact’r is a passionate and dedicated group that provides a family aspect and an inclusive environment for BU students, no matter how advanced their dance abilities may be.
“[The club] is something that really stuck out to me,” Morris said. “I couldn’t picture my college experience without X-Fact’r.”