NPHC step show returns to Homecoming

The Eta Rho chapter and other chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. step at the end of the District Step Show on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 in DSU Auditorium.   EBONY COX/HERALD

Griffin Fletcher

For the members of WKU’s National Pan-Hellenic Council, Homecoming week is defined by the NPHC Step Show, a competition that features a form of percussive dance known as “stepping.”

With origins tracing back to the early 1900s during the foundings of many NPHC organizations, stepping is a long-held NPHC tradition at WKU.

Louisville junior Courtney Hurst, a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and this year’s Step Show chair, said stepping is fundamental to her sorority and the history of the Divine Nine, the nine historically influential African-American Greek-lettered organizations in the United States.

“It’s always been a part of my organization,” Hurst said. “It all feeds in together.”

Though the Step Show did not take place last year, Hurst said she took it upon herself to maintain the tradition this year by becoming Step Show chair. After months of coordinating, the show will take place Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. in Van Meter Hall auditorium.

Hurst said the show is very competitive, as organizations choreograph and practice their Step Show routines sometimes months in advance.

“This is as competitive as Homecoming gets for us,” Hurst said. “Everybody is coming to win.”

Indianapolis senior Cameron Brooks, of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, said NPHC organizations take pride in winning the Step Show.

“Everyone respects one another,” Brooks said, “but when it comes to Step Show—most definitely, it’s all or nothing.”

Brooks will compete in his first Step Show at the competition. He said he’s excited to have the opportunity.

“It’s an honor, really, being able to represent for your organization,” Brooks said. “It shows that I’m in this fraternity for a reason.”

NPHC President Cori Venning of Louisville, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, said the Step Show provides organizations with the chance to connect with African-American history.

“It’s just a way for us to not only feel proud of our individual organization, but for the culture behind,” Venning said. “It’s really just a time for us to rejoice with each other.”

Aside from the Step Show routines, Venning said four scholarships of $700 will be awarded to WKU students of underrepresented backgrounds at the competition. She said the scholarships further NPHC’s mission to build community and recognize the history of each organization’s founders and alumni.

“I think of my ancestors and the people who worked hard to create these organizations,” Venning said. “It means a lot to me to be able to perform.”

Tickets will be sold every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday before the show from noon to 2 p.m. in Downing Student Union for $12. Tickets will be sold for $15 at Van Meter Hall immediately before the competition.

A sorority and fraternity winner will be selected at the end of the competition, but Venning said the Step Show is first and foremost for the people who make it possible.

“Even though we all have different mission statements,” Venning said. “The main goal of the Divine Nine is to be able to serve our community.”

Reporter Griffin Fletcher can be reached at 270-745-2655 and [email protected]