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Penn Relays drew crowds from near and far to watch some of the world’s fastest athletes, but the Multicultural Greek Council’s annual Penn Relays Step Show displayed a different talent from around the country.

Last week, as the Relays came to a close, Penn’s MGC hosted the step show in Irvine Auditorium. Greek students from several chapters along the East Coast were present as they performed in front of a very excited audience.

Step dancing or “stepping” is a historical tradition of black fraternities and sororities, dating back to the mid-1900s. It is often performed along with songs and chants as a way to celebrate the “crossing over” into membership of these organizations. Stepping has also been incorporated into other Greek organizations such as Lambda Sigma Upsilon — a Latino fraternity.

Before the show, College freshman Stephanie Udalor said, “I’ve never seen a step show before, and I’m really excited to see what it’s all about.”

The opening act of the step show on April 27 was the Penn performing arts group, Strictly Funk. They were followed by the Epsilon Iota Iota chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity from New Haven, Conn. — clad in white suits and gold shoes. One East-Coast chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity performed a routine as robots in a laboratory called “Sigma-bots.”

The Philadelphia-wide Gamma Epsilon chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority appeared in pink blazers, green bowties and heels as they stepped across the stage. They had the audience cheering in excitement as they performed the signature steps of the five major black fraternities. Many fraternities usually have a signature step dance move.

“I was really impressed by how coordinated and energetic they were,” College freshman Taylor Jamerson said of this group’s performance.

After the ladies performed with their brother fraternity — the Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, which has Penn students as members — the crowd roared in approval and delight. They were followed by the Penn Latin dance group Onda Latina, who danced to a variety of hip-hop songs.

Two chapters of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity — one from Penn, the other from Drexel University — incorporated a storyline of old versus young in their step performance. Some of the brothers were dressed as old men, while some of the newer brothers — who had recently crossed over — played younger men. Altogether, they stepped in competition with one another and threw their signature “Kappa Kanes” across the stage with admirable precision.

Finally, the Temple University chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity represented their fraternity colors with gold parachute pants as they stepped to several old school songs — reminiscent of the famous ’90s movie “House Party.”

During a pause in the performances, the MGC paid tribute to Charles “Larry” Moses, former program coordinator for the Office of Student Affairs/Fraternity Sorority Life, who devoted himself to promoting Greek unity across campus. They announced a scholarship in his honor that would be used to sponsor Greek students who participate in leadership conferences.

After the show, the hype was kept alive as the crowd made their way to Houston Hall for a party called “Three Kings,” hosted by Penn’s Kappa Alpha Psi, Alpha Phi Alpha and Omega Psi Phi fraternities.

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