Stomp the Yard Show: Historically black greeks showcase step talents in new campus tradition

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K-State’s historically black greek organizations let their bodies be their instruments through the art of stepping for a packed audience Friday night in the K-State Student Union Forum Hall.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Union Program Council brought the first competitive “Yard Show” to campus. A show of this magnitude has not happened in years, said Rayonna Thomas, president of K-State’s NPHC and junior in apparel and textiles.

Each greek organization incorporated chanting, dance and the history of its fraternity or sorority into the performance. K-State’s hip-hop dance team Poize also performed.

“I’d never seen stepping before, and what was most exciting to me was the way that each group told a story,” said Alison Muckel, Sigma Kappa member and senior in business management.

The NPHC serves as the umbrella organization for the black greek letter fraternities and sororities, said Quantrell Willis, cohost of the event and Multicultural Student Organization adviser.

The Yard Show’s intention was to develop into an annual event, Willis said.

“We felt there was a need to bring NPHC organizations back to campus,” Willis added.

Minutes before the show, the auditorium filled up and people struggled to find seats. Some were even turned away because the hall was packed to capacity.

Starting off the Yard Show was Manhattan High School’s Black Student Union step team. The team’s performance was followed by the members of he sorority Delta Sigma Theta, who incorporated stepping and dancing into a mystery skit. Songs like “Inspector Gadget” and detective music were included in the routine to keep the audience engaged.

Entering from the back of the hall, Alpha Phi Alpha members made their entrance holding up championship belts with an emcee stating the fraternities previous stepping recognitions and awards their creativity and frequent involvement in stepping gained them.

A screen fell from the ceiling to show a clip of the members of Phi Beta Sigma announcing that “they were back,” which was their theme for the show. The fraternity is nationally known for stepping; however, the K-State chapter has not stepped in almost two years.

Taking home first place was Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Second place went to Delta Sigma Theta sorority, and Phi Beta Sigma placed third.

David Hildebrandt, graduate student in architecture and Alpha step master and coordinator of the fraternities performance, said winning meant a lot to him because it was his last show before graduating from K-State in May.

“Seeing we have won other competitions, it’s only natural that we would want to be best at our school,” Hildebrandt said. “For us to win in front of such a broad, diverse audience, it felt really good. It was really close for us though, the other teams did really good.”

The show was scheduled to fit into Koch Industries, “College for a Day Program” which focuses on recruiting multicultural students to K-State. High-school juniors and seniors throughout Kansas were present.

“We wanted to show them the social side of college life and that it can be fun,” Willis said.

The main goal of the event was to raise money for the NPHC scholarship, which awards $500 to the recipient.

“The scholarship is for high school students, to help them financially and encourage them to go to college,” Thomas said.

The hosts incorporated the extra-curricular activities and community service achievements of the greek organizations in between each performance to show the different opportunities greek life entails.

The acknowledgment of the fraternities and sororities involvement in the community showed that greek life is not just about partying and drinking, which is what a lot of seniors might think, said Diana Quiñones, Sigma Kappa member and senior in animal sciences and industry.

“I think it was a good way of showing high-school seniors that greek life is positive and consists of community service, platforms and involvement,” Quiñones added.

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