Stepping is an integral part of Black fraternity culture, representing the bonds of brotherhood. Not only this, but Stepping represents Black Americans’ shared experiences and traditions.
The tradition involves a series of synchronized dance moves and call-and-response chants that showcase unity, pride, and respect for one’s organization. Today, stepping continues to be a popular and celebrated form of expression among the Divine Nine organizations.
Many fraternities and sororities have their own stepping traditions and routines. Communities perform events such as homecoming and competitions. Stepping is a way to demonstrate unity, pride, and respect. Moreover, it is essential to the Divine Nine’s cultural identity.
The Origins of Stepping in Black Fraternities
Stepping has its roots in the military drills performed by Black American soldiers during World War I. Often, these soldiers were relegated to non-combatant roles. They sought to prove their worth and assert their dignity through their marching drills.
These intricate and synchronized movements were influenced by African tribal dances, which were used to convey messages and express emotions. In a time when segregation was still widespread, stepping was a way to express their resilience in the face of adversity.
As Black American soldiers returned home after the war, they brought the military drills and incorporated them into their cultural celebrations. Over time, the routines evolved into a unique form of dance. Dances infuse a blend of musical styles such as jazz, blues, and gospel. This new dance style became known as stepping, and it was adopted by Black fraternities and sororities.
Throughout the years, stepping has evolved and adapted to the changing cultural landscape. The dance style incorporates new elements, but still remains true to its roots. The Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLO) added their unique twists. From there, they turned them into a form of expression and celebration of their culture and heritage. Along with stepping, BGLOs use calls to pay homage to their lineage. To learn more about the history of stepping and calling, click here.
Camaraderie in Black Fraternity Culture
Stepping is not just a dance style, but also a form of competition between fraternity organizations. These competitions are a fierce way to celebrate the art of stepping and the culture surrounding it. Here, fraternity members can showcase their skills and prove loyalty to their brotherhood.
The camaraderie forged through stepping is a crucial aspect of Black fraternity culture. Stepping requires teamwork, cooperation, and precise movements, which helps build strong bonds among fraternity members.
The dance style is not just a performance, but also a testament to solidarity, support, and brotherhood. More than this, the shared experience of stepping encourages a sense of belonging. This remains at the heart of Black fraternity culture.
In addition to fostering camaraderie, stepping is also a way for members to express their creativity and individuality. Many fraternities have unique stepping traditions and routines. This further allows members to put their spin on the dance style and showcase their talents. Fostering this creative expression is essential to strengthening the bonds between members. Not only this, but it enhances a sense of community within the organizations.
Stepping into Divine Nine History
With a rich history, stepping has been a way to protest, assert cultural identity, and strengthen communities. The synchronized movements and rhythmic beats of stepping tell a story. They evoke a sense of pride and unity among members of the organization. Most importantly, it is a way to pass on the traditions and values of the Divine Nine to the next generations.
As we honor Black History Month at GreekXperience, we invite everyone to learn more about the powerful history of BGLOs. We understand how a successful college experience begins with friendship. So, join us now to pledge a lifetime of brotherhood.