Campus & Community

Sellout crowd rocks Ritchie Center step show

Members of the historically black fraternities and sororities who performed in the “Step It Up!” step show Oct. 20 could teach other Greeks a thing or two about Panhellenic pride.

The show drew a sellout crowd of more than 2,600 to DU’s Hamilton Gymnasium, which was awash in Greek insignia and colors — blue and white, purple and gold, crimson and cream.

As costumed dancers stomped, clapped and chanted on stage, enthusiastic fans captured the rhythm and rocked the stands, often leaping to their feet and roaring approval with yelps, howls and chants of their own.

“It’s very entertaining,” said audience member Jeroid Patterson, a University of Arizona alumnus sporting Alpha Phi Alpha’s black and gold. Although he’s performed in step shows in the past, this time he was there to cheer on other members of his fraternity’s Rocky Mountain chapter. “A lot of work goes into it.”

Indeed. Step shows — high-energy competitions typically between black fraternities and sororities — feature elaborate, synchronized group routines that incorporate cheerleading, drill-team formations and call-and-response.

The dance form has African roots and has become a tradition of the nine historically black Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

Eight groups, representing seven fraternities and sororities, performed at DU.

The Denver alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and Denver Delta Inc. sponsored the show, which raised more than $10,000 for the Colorado Sickle Cell Association and Denver Kids Inc.

Delta Sigma Theta alumna Yasmaine Ford Faggan, assistant to the chair in DU’s history department, co-chaired the event, which had support from a number of University departments and organizations: athletics, events, Center for Multicultural Excellence, Center for African-American Policy, Black Student Alliance, African-American Alumni Association, Women’s College, campus safety, campus activities and student life.

The Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority took home first-place trophies in the Mile-High “Step It Up!” show, which was emceed by 9News anchor Bazi Kanani and author Chet Sisk.

“This event was important to the DU and Denver multicultural community,” said B. Afeni Cobham, DU’s assistant provost student life and a Delta Sigma Theta alumna. “The Greek life experience is shared by a lot of different cultural groups.”

Learn more about the history of Greek-lettered organizations.

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