‘The Divine Nine’ makes a comeback in the annual Stepdown show

Members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.’s Nu Delta chapter rehearse on Tuesday night in the ARC for their performance in the 2014 Stepdown Show. Saturday’s show will have one of the largest represented list of performers in the event’s history.

By Amelia Mugavero

In the annual Stepdown Show, members of Black Greek sororities and fraternities will make their voices heard through dance, acting and step performances. This year, two voices of the newly completed “Divine Nine” will resonate in the auditorium, making this year’s show one of the largest lineups of performers. 

The show is presented by the University Black Greek Council and will be at Foellinger Auditorium from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.on Saturday.

Tickets are $10 for the show, and $7 for an after party open to all University students at CRCE following the event. 

“The Divine Nine” includes the nine predominately black fraternities and sororities in the BGC. This past fall, the sororities Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta have made a comeback to campus, making the University one of few to have all nine represented groups active on campus. Abdoulie Conteh, vice president of Black Greek Affairs and sophomore in Business, agreed that the comeback of these two groups will make it a big year for the show. 

Conteh said that this is the first year in about seven to eight years that eight out of the nine groups will perform at Saturday’s show. Phi Rho Eta, another fraternity in the BGC, will also be performing in the show, but is not a member of the “The Divine Nine.” 

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“I don’t know if this has ever happened when all the ‘Divine Nine’ were here,” said Mercedes Hughey, vice president of the BGC executive board and senior in AHS.  

With the addition of these two sororities, there will be more competition for the groups that have regularly been involved in Stepdown. Hughey said that in the past, the competition was usually between her sorority, Zeta Phi Beta, and Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.

“I am still confident,” Hughey said. “We have won for the past two years, and we are hoping for a three-peat.” 

Each group will incorporate its own signature dance moves called “strolls,” which are dances unique to each fraternity and sorority, and each member will perform for about 15 minutes. 

According to the BGC Stepdown rules, groups will be judged on precision, crowd appeal, appearance, originality, difficulty and ability to stay within the time frame. “It is a stepping performance, but it is also a show,” said Edward Vaughn, president of the BGC and junior in Engineering. “It’s kind of like ‘Stomp the Yard.’” 

There will also be a Yard Show on Friday at the Union at 5 p.m. to give a preview performance from all the participating groups. 

“The crowd always expects a good show,” said Tasjia Shaw, member of Zeta Phi Beta and junior in AHS. “I am more excited than nervous.”

In addition to the show’s performances from black Greek sororities and fraternities, Moda Bellissima modeling troupe and Mik Jacobi, a guest rapper, will be showcased in between acts.     

Vaughn and Conteh are working with BCG to do more with the money raised from Stepdown’s ticket sales, on top of the time-consuming task of making Stepdown come to fruition. The winners of the show will be awarded $1,000 each, “plus bragging rights,” Vaughn said.   

“In past years, they really haven’t done anything besides use the money for things such as Stepdown. But me and Edward have been talking about bringing other opportunities for students on campus,” Conteh said. 

Some of these opportunities include offering scholarships and hosting more educational and social events for people on campus. 

Hughey said that her sorority has used the money they won from past Stepdown shows toward their own scholarship fund within the sorority’s chapter, as well as toward the causes they support, such as March of Dimes and St. Jude’s Research Hospital. 

“We want to let them know that the money is not only for us,” Conteh said. “The whole purpose of the Black Greek Council is to provide opportunities for the African-American community and the community as a whole. We are just trying to reciprocate that money.”

For Conteh, the purpose of Stepdown goes beyond just the performance that audiences see.

“I feel that people think being in a fraternity and sorority is just about going to parties and stuff,” Conteh said. “But I think with Stepdown, it shows people we actually work hard and care about the community as well.”

Amelia can be reached at [email protected].