THE HISTORY OF STEPPIN AND THE GOALS OF THE STEP TEAMS.
Steppin, a dance tradition made popular by African-American fraternities and sororities, is a complex performance involving synchronized percussive movement, singing, speaking, chanting, and drama. It can be traced to the peoples and cultural dance traditions of Africa, specifically, the “Gumboot Dance”. With a focus on precise foot movements and hand-clapping, gumboots used dance as a means to communicate.
Steppin in the U.S. can be traced as far back as the 1920′s during fraternity pledges at Howard University. As steppin evolved into the 1940′s and 50′s, various elements of military drill formations became prevalent; partially due to the fact that many military men joined fraternities upon returning from WW II.
As a result of this evolution, step shows became the format of choice to display pride in ones organization (i.e., fraternity, sorority) and is now produced in many African-American churches, schools, community groups, fraternities, and sororities, as well as Latino, Asian-American, and multicultural greek-letter organizations.
The Step Teams at Eagle Charter High and SMART Middle are ambassadors for the school, the community, and themselves. Their goal is to communicate positive information through the art form. The teams have performed for many school, civic, and social functions.