By Susanna Cheung ’16 and Annie Chen ’16
Many freshmen and sophomores have stomped their way onto the Step team after weeks of practice and dedication. A step member, Hannah Chen ’16 said, “I think they were great. They all work at different paces, but overall it was nice to see people try step for the first time.” Practices were held in the cafeteria after tenth period starting March 25 and continued every day till spring break. Those who wanted to join were asked to come prepared in comfortable clothes and sneakers. They began practice with a regular routine of stretches and running laps across the lunchroom to get warmed up. The original members were asked to show beginners the steps that they would be learning. After that, the team was broken up and assigned to each novice. It’s their responsibility to teach the newcomers the routine part by part until they’ve learned the whole thing. “The girls on the step team seemed very friendly and open to new people,” said Ariel Brathwaite ’18. “I’ve always enjoyed stepping so I wanted to try out and my friend was on the team.” For new members to get on the team, they had to learn the steps taught at practice and perform them in front of their supervisor, Ms. Marie Volcy, their alumni, and the two captains. Alongside stepping, students were also asked a series of questions to see how dedicated they were and if they’re able to work under stress. Judges mainly look for stamina, vocal clarity, precision, attitude, personality, and the “it” function. When all that’s taken care of, results are posted in the lunchroom in about a week or two. “I am always excited to see the talent and the courage it takes for kids to tryout,” said Ms. Volcy. “At times you could see how badly they want it.” Step dancing originated in the early 1900s by members of African-American fraternities and sororities. While stepping, people use their entire body as an instrument to create unique sounds and beats by footsteps, claps and spoken words. The speed and movements depend on the way the performers want it to look. Many students claim it’s one of the most entertaining forms of dance as it intrigues viewers and brings back culture. “To be a lady phoenix you’ve got to bring the heat and especially the attitude,” said another step member, Peggy Chen ’16. “Experience isn’t required since most of us tried out as beginners too.” The step team, Lady Phoenix and Infinyte, have been around for 28 years and are still growing strong. They’ve pumped up the crowd and played a role for many occasions such as Kwanzaa Fest, sports events, homecoming games, talent shows, and more. When they’re not doing school-related activities, they participate in competitions against teams from many other high schools. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be one of them, get yourself prepared and come to their next tryout starting from May to June!