From younger youngsters, all the best way to school college students, step tradition holds a outstanding place throughout the Black neighborhood.
Based on Richard Smith, one of many founders of the East Coast Step Present in Fayetteville, stepping has been round because the early 1900s.
“Through the years, the kinds have modified,” he mentioned. “What makes stepping so vital is it is a specific expertise, it is a specific artwork, specific choreography that could be very completely different from simply common dance or another kind of artwork that solely sure people can do. All people cannot step. It’s extremely tough to be taught and also you simply obtained to be very gifted for my part.”
Avis Hatcher-Puzzo, Fayetteville State College professor of dance and theatre, mentioned that from a dance perspective, the delivery of stepping has a connection to slavery.
“As a result of the drums had been taken away from the slaves, they needed to discover a solution to make the rhythm inside their very own physique,” she mentioned. “Then you may have the chain gangs and simply the concept of the rhythm, the Motherland rhythm, protecting African-People collectively, particularly the lads,” she mentioned. “Sure, the ladies, however principally the lads.”
The East Coast Step present returned to Fayetteville for the primary time in a number of years this previous weekend.
“One factor stepping has accomplished over this century, 100 years, it has actually affected our youth,” mentioned Smith. ” We’ve got so many highschool, center college and elementary and neighborhood step groups impressed by Greek organizations.”
Smith mentioned he sponsors step groups in elementary, center and excessive colleges.
Smith, a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, mentioned that stepping was a solution to join along with his brothers.
“If you step, you develop a teamwork-type idea like on a basketball workforce, a soccer workforce, you looking in your teammates, everyone’s attempting to be taught,” he mentioned. “It is actually a team-building factor and also you get to know your brother higher or teammates higher whereas training with them. You develop lifelong friendships as nicely.”
Smith mentioned stepping strikes can fluctuate relying on who somebody realized it from or the place they realized it.
“Stepping kinds are completely different,” Smith mentioned. “The way in which groups step in North Carolina is a little bit completely different from the best way they step in Virginia. So, there’s additionally quite a lot of stepping though it is nonetheless stepping.”
Smith mentioned stepping is one thing that the Black neighborhood ought to have pleasure in because it spreads past the Black neighborhood.
“It is one thing I believe the Black neighborhood must be pleased with,” Smith mentioned. “It began within the late ’70s, early ’80s when these different teams needed to be part of one thing that the Black tradition just about began.”
Hatcher-Puzzo mentioned stepping is one thing members of the Black neighborhood maintain sacred.
“Having taught at an HBCU and having been in Greek and Southern tradition for some time, I perceive why it is so protected as a result of lots of what we do has been stolen,” she mentioned. “So I get that they are like, ‘Look, it is a custom that we have managed to maintain for all of those years.'”
Employees author Akira Kyles could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.