It’s about impeccable timing.
It’s about syncopation.
It’s about originality.
No, we’re not talking about synchronized swimming.
We’re talking about the annual Spring Step Shows held by the Pan-Hellenic Council.
This year the show, held at Philadelphia’s legendary Blue Horizon, was named the “Neil D. Caesar Spring Step Show” in honor of the Alpha Phi Alpha brother that started the step shows at Temple in the late 1980s.
When asked how he felt about the show being named after him, Caesar said: “It’s almost embarrassing.”
But after years of being involved with Temple University’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha and these step shows, the fraternity feels he has earned this honor.
When Caesar first started the shows at Temple, they were held outside at the Bell Tower, but it became a difficult event to coordinate due to the lack of crowd control.
They started holding the shows at McGonigle Hall, where they could charge money and allot some of the proceeds to charities.
According to Temple’s chapter president of Alpha Phi Alpha, Travis Coley, this year there were a few creative differences between the administration and the Pan-Hellenic Council.
Therefore, Coley suggested that by having the step show at the Blue Horizon, “we took our show back.”
He emphasized the importance of bringing the show to an historic place, like the Blue Horizon.
Franklin also felt that the venue’s atmosphere was the best part about using it for the show.
“It’s smaller, but that makes it more intimate – we’re taking it back to the days of old,” said Coley.
Another brother and executive producer of the show, Maurice Franklin, felt “real anxious” about the evening, but was very excited because of all the planning that went into it.
He also mentioned using the Blue Horizon instead of McGonigle Hall in order to show their independence as an organization.
Originally constructed as three separate residences in 1865, the Blue Horizon morphed into one of the most well known boxing venues in the world.
The building has been used in the movie, Rocky V, USA’s Tuesday Night Fights, and ESPN 2’s Friday Night Fights.
Last Thursday, the Horizon was packed with an audience anticipating a different kind of show, but one with as much hype as a heavyweight-boxing match.
At 6 p.m., there was already a line down the block with people eagerly awaiting the opening of the doors.
Walking into the Blue Horizon, one could see the fraternities and sororities putting their last minute tweaks into their shows.
These people meant business.
According to Coley, he felt like the evening was going to be a success because of the representation they had that evening of the “Divine Nine.”
Seven fraternities and sororities were represented from the Pan-Hellenic Council from various universities, three of which were from Temple.
Stepping is huge part of belonging to a historically black fraternity or sorority.
These organizations have been around since the beginning of the 1900s and stepping has had a role since the 1960s.
According to Franklin, it’s very crucial to keep their African roots attached to the Pan-Hellenic life.
At this step show, the brothers and sisters were being judged on crowd response, precision, originality and degree of difficulty among other criteria.
According to Mariah Feliciano, junior Biochemistry major, the creativity is the best part of watching these step shows, along with the crowd’s reactions to the performers.
She especially enjoys how the teams incorporate their “sharp moves with the music.”
Each fraternity and sorority has its own call and unique style. They use these to get the crowd hyped and to keep their attention.
Most of the teams were so into their performance, one could feel the vibrations throughout the entire auditorium.
The more bravado involved, the better the show, the more reaction from the crowd.
The more reaction from the crowd, the higher the score.
The battle eventually ended with men’s first place going to Temple’s Phi Beta Sigma chapter and women’s first place going to Temple’s Sigma Gamma Rho chapter.
Holly Logan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org