The rhythmic beat of shoes hitting the floor was all fraternity and sorority members needed to get the party started at the 12th annual Hip-Hop Explosion.
The music was loud, the crowd was energized and the dancers were on point as members of Greek Life competed Saturday night at the Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St.
“It was definitely a success. We sold out, so we reached our goals,” said Dallawrence Dean, president of Black Student Alliance.
The competition for the best stepping routine was hosted by stand-up comedian Lewis Johnson.
Stepping is a rhythmic form of dance that includes clapping, stomping and chanting to a man-made beat.
Retrospect, a type of stepping that allows the dancers to showcase their group’s signature moves and history, was the most prominent style of dance at the show.
Danielle Yager, a sophomore speech communications major, heard about the show from a classmate and was eager for the night to begin.
“I am excited to see what it’s about,” she said before the show, almost yelling over the loud music that was blaring as audience members filed into the auditorium.
The biggest step show in Colorado drew people from all over the area. Students and community members traveled from Boulder, Denver and Wyoming to see groups battle for the grand prize and bragging rights for the rest of the year.
Though stepping is a specific style of dance, each performance was unique. The ladies of Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority melded the idea of stepping on wooden boxes and incorporating their own version of hip-hop into their step show.
The Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, which boasts the title of first Latina sorority on the West Coast as well as in Colorado, used machetes to accent their act.
The Zeta Phi Beta Sorority used sticks and blindfolds, making the members of the crowd gasp as some of the dancers swung their props, almost hitting the seemingly unsuspecting blindfolded stepper, though the entire routine was choreographed to render such a response.
Although any young adult would find the synchronized stepping routines exhausting, that didn’t slow down 61-year old Glenn Howard of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the oldest performer to take the stage. Howard made staying in line with his fellow fraternity brothers look easy as he swung his cane alongside much younger men.
In the end, it came down to one sorority and fraternity.
As the winner of last year’s competition, Alpha Phi Alpha was able to hold on to that title as they ranked first among the fraternities. The group drove over nine hours from Oklahoma State to compete and left with $1,200 in prize money.
CSU’s own Delta Theta Sigma took first prize for the sororities.
“This is a great opportunity for people to come out and see African-American history,” said Whitnee Pleasant, a senior finance major and secretary/treasurer for Delta Theta Sigma.
Former Zeta Phi Beta member and Northern Colorado alumnus, Vicky Artis, was one of the competition’s five judges who ranked each group’s ability to excite the crowd as well as the uniformity of their routine.
Artis was especially impressed with the individuality of the different performances.
“There was a lot of energy and originality,” she said.
Staff writer Anica Wong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.