Stepping Toward Greatness

Jonathan Alvarez, Web Editor

As the music begins to pour out from the speakers, each mem- berbeginstotaketheirplace.First by slowly forming a line, then as soon as the first kick is heard in the song, each member begins to use their entire bodies to form a synchronized movement. To some, it’s merely entertainment, while others see it as a sport, but to everyone; this is simply known as Stepping.

Pace University’s step team The 808’s, usually can be seen at the school’s Stomp the Yard event, the annual Step and Stroll, or even performing in the Kessel Center while tabling for an up- coming event.

“It’s like dancing, but instead of a flowing movement, it’s more strategic. It’s like you are an in- strument,” senior, double major in English and adolescent educa- tion, Kim Walker said. “I think of it as a sport, doing a step for seven minutes is crazy cardio.”

Walker is president of The 808’s, and helped found the club at Pace two years ago while working at SDCA. As a student who was interested in the activity, Walker along with fellow 808’s member Ijeoma Duru, noticed that there was no step team. See- ing the opportunity to form one, they began the process of creating the organization along with the aid of SDCA.

“We’ve performed at compe- titions,” Walker said. “We went to Bridgeport to do a step show and competed against other teams. Last year, we decided not to compete because we felt our team wasn’t as strong, but this year people are getting their act

Stepping is a type of type of

synchronized dancing that in- volves clapping, stomping, and making noise on the body to make a beat with a whole group of people. These groups can then compete against one another while being judged based off their skill, movements, collaboration, and rhythm.

“When we create a routine to a song, it’s easier because we have a beat. But sometimes we step without music, so we have to create our own beat,” Walker said. “We take hours to practice in order to make sure that everyones movements are the same.”

Although stepping is not tied to Pace athletics, the team still feels that they compete in a sport. Stepping is not limited to college teams, but also is practiced in all levels of school and even at a rec- reational level.

“I’ve been part of the Pace step team since the fall of 2011, but I did mediocre stepping since sophomore year of high school,” junior biology pre-physical thera- py major Yarlie Pierre-Louis said. “Competition doesn’t scare me.”

Pierre-Louis, who also is Vice Ptresident of the 808’s, feels that stepping should be seen at a high- er regard than just entertainment.

“It’s definitely a sport,” Pierre- Louis said. “The amount of time, energy, and determination we go through just to compete at com- petitions is tough. It takes a lot of time and effort to compete against different Greek and drill step teams.”

Depending on how big the stage is, the 808’s may differ in the amount of people who com- pete and perform. If it is a simple event, one can expect to see three to six person groups, while if it is at a competition, the number of

people grows to nine to twelve. Due to conflicting schedules of those who participate, it looks un- likely that the 808’s will be com- peting anytime soon.

“When we create a step, we want to ensure that it looks and sounds good to the audience,” Pierre-Louis said. “When we perform, it is like we are telling a story, almost like a ballet. There is a concept behind it and we have to make sure we make good tran-

sitions and don’t mess up on the technicalities and sound, since that is what we are graded and judged on.”

Although the 808’s did not win at the last competition, they are still focused on moving their organization forward and getting better, one step at a time.

“Stepping is the same process over and over, but you have to be clean with it. Your body has to be boxed,” Walker said. “All you

have to have is rhythm and a good heart, because you will be work- ing it a lot.”

Students who are interested in the step team can contact both Walker or Pierre-Louis, or any member they may see at a step- ping event on campus. The team meets every Wednesday at 9:15 PM in the North Hall basement.

“We always have our doors open,” Pierre-Louis said.