Stepping to the death for competition prize money

Step teams competed in Temple’s Step or Die: Go Hard or Go Home performance.

Three college step teams battled on April 21 to prove who could step the hardest in Temple’s Step or Die: Go Hard or Go Home competition presented by the Ladies of Elegance Step Team. There was a mixture of dance and poetry, but only the step teams fought for the $500 prize and bragging rights for the year.

The three colleges represented were University of Delaware, Lehigh University and Saint Joseph University, but only one would walk away as the Step or Die champion.

The night started off with LOE opening the show, setting the stage for the rest of the teams. The president of LOE, Cynquetta Barnett, expressed the meaning behind Go Hard or Go Home is “not just stepping, but bringing what you do to the stage.”

The University of Delaware National Society of Black Engineers was the first team to perform. It incorporated chairs and comedy into the act, while chanting the team’s motto, “we’re too hype.” There was one male in their group, but he did not let his presence go unseen. When the host asked the judges how they liked NSBE’s performance, they unanimously agreed the group had great energy, a good use of theatrics, and a great performance overall.

Before the next step team would have a chance to perform, Central Pennsylvania Onward dance team hit the stage. With its theme, “Toy Box: Good Dolls Gone Bad,” each member was dressed in colorful tights and tutus with doll-inspired hair and makeup.

In its video entry, Onward said the team was there to show everyone how it “goes hard, not only in the classroom, but on the stage, as well.” The dance was a mixture of ballet and hip-hop, with music the majority of the audience knew and could dance along to.

Next up was Bianca Davies reciting poetry, which inspired black women to remain strong during times of trial and tribulations.

“Black women, you are all my heroes,” Davies said in her last poetic line.

Lehigh University took the stage and explained how it goes hard in its schoolwork, performances on stage and through community service. The routine had a humorous twist – dancers played janitors whose boss threatened to fire them if they were caught stepping on the job.

“NSBE and all the other groups definitely went hard, and LOE started the show off with bang,” freshman biology major Mathos Sokolo said.

Show dancers from Suny Old Westbury shook up the crowd with their colorful stockings and bright makeup.  The dance crew said it only took them two to three weeks to get ready for this performance. The Suny Old Westbury dancers added they were inspired by kids who sell candy for fundraisers.

“We had fun, and Temple showed us so much love,” member Nakita Quinlanz said.

The last performance of the night was the Saint Joseph Royal Steppers from Brooklyn, N.Y., with its theme, “Served the Business.” Dressed in white, button-down shirts, black bowties, pants and shoes, each member played the role of waitresses.

At the end of the show, Barnett announced the winner of the Step or Die competition as the Royal Steppers team.

“I’m really proud of my group members. They are awesome and really went hard,” Andriana Dillard, a senior member of the team said. “[The team is a] collaborative effort [of] talented people and coaches. Somehow, with all these things together, we magically unfold.”

Alise Hammond can be reached at


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