This weekend, “Watch Your Step,” the Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society’s annual step show, returns. The dance competition brings together step teams from colleges and universities — and this year, a high school — from throughout the Northeast to compete for a $1,000 prize.
The theme for Saturday’s show is “Stepping Off the Silver Screen,” which encourages teams to incorporate scenes and costumes from blockbuster movies into their performances. The venue, St. Patrick’s Church on the West Side of Binghamton, will be decorated to match the theme, complete with a red carpet and popcorn for those who attend. Chenelle Seck, the president of the Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society and a senior majoring in sociology, said that this year, the ticket proceeds go toward efforts to provide students with affordable opportunities to visit out-of-state law schools.
Step is a dance form with historical roots in black culture. Seck said that stepping is an empowering form of self-expression that turns the body into an instrument, using hands, feet and words to create a rhythm.
She expressed excitement at the possibility that X-Fact’r, Binghamton University’s step team, could win it all.
“They have a lot of practice, and they won last year,” Seck said. “Having a home team to represent Binghamton makes things really exciting.”
Judges will score the teams based on both the technical execution of their act and the creative incorporation of the theme. The panel of judges includes members of other on-campus organizations, including popular student dance groups Quimbamba Latin Dance Team and the Uyai Nnua African dance group, and the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Milton Chester, assistant dean for off-campus programs and services, will also serve as a judge for the event.
Chester said that he will be judging teams based on a rubric of creativity, crowd participation and engagement, uniforms and synchronization.
“This is a high energy, exciting, fun event,” Chester wrote in an email. “There is always lots of positive energy in the room. Over the years I have attended hundreds of student events and this program ranks in the top 5 percent of student programs I’ve attended.”
The competition will take place Saturday, Feb. 24 from 8 p.m. to midnight at the St. Patrick’s Church at 9 Leroy St. on Binghamton’s West Side. Tickets will be sold for $10 in the Tillman Lobby in the University Union this week leading up to the event. According to Seck, tickets at the door will likely be sold for $12.