Stomp Fest 2008 to Showcase Baylor's Step Talent

April 11, 2008

by Katie Brooks, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Baylor University's Department of Special Performances and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. will host Stomp Fest 2008 from 7:30-11:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, in Waco Hall.

"This show 'steps' into another area as students can express their creative abilities and talents in performing," said Brittany Temple, graduate assistant for special performances. "Stomp Fest also reaches a more diverse population not only in the performers but also in audience members who come to watch the show," she said.

"Stepping" is a traditionally African-American historical form of communication and storytelling that is widely performed by fraternities and sororities that belong to the National Pan-Hellenic Council, an organization which directs the traditionally African-American national sororities and fraternities.

Originally, stepping served as a sort of code for African Americans to tell their story since speaking out was often times too dangerous. Since then it has grown and evolved.

Like much African-American music and dance, step dance relies on improvisation, call and response, complex meters, propulsive rhythms and a percussive attack. Stepping dates back to the early 20th century, when Black veterans of World War I enrolled in colleges. Inspired by their military training, they brought to their dances a highly rigorous, drill like component and combined it with elements from other Black dances, just as today's steppers often add hip-hop movements.

Throughout the fall semester, members of Zeta Phi Beta recruit step coaches and pair them with teams who have limited experience in stepping. Coaches train the teams during February and March. Each team develops a routine focused on a central theme and performed to a variety of different styles of music such as hip hop, rap, Latin American and popular Christian music.

Awards are given to the top groups in both the men and women's categories. All the prize money awarded goes to benefit each group's unique philanthropy. Ticket proceeds from the event are donated to Zeta Phi Beta's national philanthropy, sickle cell anemia.

This year's acts include Alpha Chi Omega, Asian Student Association, Delta Sigma Pi, Freshman Class Council, Hispanic Student Association, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta, Me Phi Me, Sigma Phi Lambda and Zeta Tau Alpha.

Participating acts are chosen based on a first-come, first-served basis, Temple said.

The show began in 2001 and "Stomp Fest has been successful each year, with its popularity steadily increasing," she said.

Tickets are $8 for floor seats and $6 for balcony seats and are available for purchase at the Bill Daniel Student Center Ticket Office or over the phone at (254) 710-3210.

For more information, contact Temple at Brittany_Temple@baylor.edu.

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