Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

What exactly is stepping, you ask? Think of it as a combination of foot stomps, marching, break dancing, and clapping with spoken elements, too. It’s hard to not watch in awe when you see a team perform. Stepping is usually an activity offered when you get to college if you’re part of a sorority or fraternity that does it, but why not get a head start in high school? It is more than just cool looking moves you wish you knew how to do. Read on to learn briefly about how it all started and why you should start a team.

Background of Stepping

To fully understand the significance of stepping, let’s take a moment to look at the history of it. According to Step Afrika!, a professional step company, “[stepping] draws movements from African foot dances, such as Gumboot, originally conceived by miners in South Africa as an alternative to drumming, which was banned by authorities.” Step teams became an important part of historically black fraternities and sororities in the 1960s and 1970s and has continued to increase in popularity and spread to other cultures. Teams are appearing from other fraternities and sororities such as ones with Asian or Latino backgrounds. Nowadays, stepping is a main event at homecomings of historically black universities and colleges, and continues to appear in movies and on TV shows.


There are many special benefits to starting a step team at your high school. Stepping offers an alternative type of dance to students who can’t commit to dancing at a studio or on the school dance team, but still want performance opportunities available to them. The quick movements require stamina, which makes it a great physical activity that is also fun. It is also a way to enrich the cultural variety of the activities offered at your school. Groups can also take time to learn about the cultural history of stepping and make it a part of their group aside from performing. More school spirit is another benefit of having this type of group at your school. The squad at my school performs at a variety of school functions, such as talent shows and dance concerts. They are always a hit and leave the audience chanting to see more. There also wouldn’t be too much of a cost if you find a free spaces to practice and perform, and members supply their own costumes. Picking simple colored clothes that most people own already like white dress shirts and black pants, and buying one accessory in your school colors is an easy way to coordinate the team for cheap.

Start Your Own

Interested in bringing stepping and it’s rich history to your school? Hold auditions if you think many students are interested in joining, but if you’re starting out small, there’s nothing wrong with letting anybody who wants to try something new join. Practices could be held in the school gym, auditorium, dance studio (if your school has one), or even in a classroom. There are plenty of YouTube videos to watch online to give you inspiration, or check out some movies centered on stepping such as Stomp the Yard. Look for local competitions in you area or see if any local high schools have a step team you could compete against.

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Cara Claflin is a senior who attends a public school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Even though she plans to stay in Minnesota, attending college in a state that doesn’t have snowstorms in May is starting to sound appealing. She hopes to double major in journalism and marketing. Cara loves helping high school students make the most of all the resources available to them. At school, she is an editor for her school’s newspaper and takes part in a leadership group. When she has some free time, she enjoys dancing, listening to music, reading, and watching music and dance competition reality shows.

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