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Step Ahead

The silence in the air is cracked with the hard sound of a combat boot hitting the stage. First it's one, and then the others follow, in a sequence of snaps creating a simple beat. That beat builds when joined with synchronized handclaps and practiced chants.


The members of Delta Sigma Theta practice for their step performance at this year's Fall Fest.
Holly A. Phillips/University Relations

It's a step performance; just one of the many sounds of Fall Fest, a university tradition that will continue Friday, Sept. 30, from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., in the Quadrangle.

While the fraternity and sorority step show has been a favored tradition for the university and for Fall Fest, this year the show is welcoming some new groups to the stage.

It's the first year Delta Sigma Theta sorority—the Devastating Divas—will be showing off their moves for the campus, although they've stepped for years.

Members of Delta Sigma Theta have been practicing their routine for the last three weeks, with at least three practices each week in preparation for Fall Fest.

Delta Sigma Theta President Raeven Pitcher started stepping last semester.

"Stepping is like dance, but there's a lot more precision to the moves," Pitcher said. "I'm not a dancer, so it took a lot of hard work to learn the moves."

Although the name "stepping" implies the movement is just about footwork, stepping is a long standing tradition that combines words and clapping in order to use the entire body for sound and expression.


Fall Fest is welcoming several new groups to their stage this year. See the show Friday, Sept. 30, from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 pm in the Quadrangle.
Holly A. Phillips/University Relations

Each step performance is different: some might include forms of break dancing, while others might perform a skit. Some could include props, such as blindfolds or batons. Most performances are stiff and precise, with formations that resemble the military.

"We focus on creativity," Pitcher said. "The routine depends on the feeling we are trying to express, as well as any theme we might have."

For the Fall Fest performance, Delta Sigma Theta chose to base their routine around current music they enjoy. They will wear a basic uniform donning their crimson color, along with traditional combat boots.

Although the act of stepping is rooted in tradition for African-American fraternities and sororities, it's a style of performance that's moved into pop culture from music groups to movies. It has also found its place in Latino Greek organizations.

"We've done other step shows, but it's big to perform for an LSU crowd," Pitcher said. "We really do work hard, and it's an honor to be included in Fall Fest."

This year's Fall Fest "Love Purple Live Gold Yard Show" includes performances by the Ballroom Dance Club, Zeta Phi Beta, Legacy Dancers, Sigma Lambda Gamma, Da Future, PHC Unity Step (includes members from Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Delta Zeta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Phi Mu, Pi Beta Phi, and Zeta Tau Alpha), along with Delta Sigma Theta.

For more information on Fall Fest activities, visit http://www.lsu.edu/students/fallfest/.

LSU SCVNGR debuts Sept. 30 with the 2011 Fall Fest trek. The game will run from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm, with challenges throughout the event. For more information, visit http://www.lsu.edu/departments/gold/social/2011/scvngr/index.shtml