Step Shows

A Competition that Fosters Togetherness

It’s more than the rhythm. It’s more than the dancing. It’s more than the music. It’s stepping. And while Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines step as “to move by raising the foot and bringing it down elsewhere or by moving each foot in succession,” stepping involves much more than that.

In Elizabeth Khalil’s article “Steppin’ Out,” Rashid Darden says that “stepping incorporates cheerleading, military, and drill-team moves, especially the call-and-response element inherent in those forms. That aspect is not only important to the energy of stepping, but to the cultural history to which stepping provides a link.”

So, where do you find step shows? Everywhere. Although African American Greek fraternities and sororities originally helped to develop the popularity of the step shows, they are spreading across the country and around the world. From campus organizations and church groups to high schools and local communities, more and more people are becoming involved in stepping.

As the popularity of step show continues to grow, so do the crowds. Events such as the Annual East Coast Step Show attract thousands of spectators—in 2003, approximately 6,000 people attended to cheer on the 15 competitors. Even junior high and high school step shows draw exceptional crowds.

Many of the step show organizations and competitions follow in the footsteps of the African American Greek organizations; they not only preserve and promote their cultural history, but also realize the importance of making a difference in their communities. Sometimes, a portion of proceeds from the step shows goes to build scholarship funds or goes to help the communities. Other Greek organizations help to coordinate step competitions in middle and high schools, giving the younger generations an opportunity to experience what stepping is all about. While step shows are often viewed as entertainment or an extracurricular activity, they provide much more than entertainment to the people involved.

Are you interested yet? Even if your high school is not involved in step shows and performances, it’s not too late! Many colleges and universities across the country offer opportunities to become involved. Whether you’re involved in a Greek sorority or fraternity or another campus organization, stepping can provide you with a chance to express yourself through music, rhythm, and dance.


This article was written by Hannah Purnell

Hannah Purnell is a staff writer for Hannah writes extensively on the topic of undergraduate studies and the college search process.


  1. kevin waters

    I am writing because I believe in stepping. I see stepping as a vehicle for our youth to visualize themselves on a college campus. They idolize the fraternities and sororites who have stepped up their game. Stepping has a wonderful power that can transform the view of our youth, that a college education is attainable. They see other minorities going to college and participating in this activity. They can be given motivation to become better students, motivation to reach for THE STARS.

  2. kiara

    i love to step and wish to join a team but cant find any ….help

  3. Tyeisha Daniels

    Well my name is Tyeisha, i am also on a step team at this moment. I am in high school and i have been up there for almost a year now. I love it because stepping helps to express your feelings. And if your angry take that energy and put it into stepping. Stepping is more than what it may seem. Stepping to me is a new direction in my life where i can just let go and put all of my feelings into this activity. If anyone is thinking about joining a step team, fraternity or sorority, i said go for it. I am going to join a sorority when i go to college. Good Luck.

  4. Dana

    I’m trying to find a list of stepping events in the Seattle area and not having much luck. I’d really like to attend some shows if there’s any in my area.

  5. Jon

    If you are looking for updated lists of step shows or even watch old videos of step shows from all over the United States, you should check out this website called

    They have all the info you need and even some good ideas for step shows if you are planning one.

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