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Niles North steps its way up with new Step Club

Zaynab Hossain

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Niles North introduces Step Club as a new form of expression through dance. Stepping is a unique style of dance that focuses on footwork and hands and the sounds that can be made from that. It incorporates the body as a use of an instrument, and consists of stomping, stepping, clapping, and spoken word. It is founded by students Emaurie Pelt and Lorena Medina and sponsored by teacher Alexis Kemp.

Stepping originated in South Africa in the late 1800s when authorities banned drumming for miners. As an alternative, they created a dance that would later turn into stepping, using their bodies as instruments.

Stepping is now a worldwide phenomenon practiced amongst people of all ages from high schools to college fraternities and sororities and more. In stepping, the body is used to make sounds through clapping, stomping and spoken word. Modern day stepping also uses elements of tap dancing, break dancing, gymnastics and Afro-Caribbean dance.

The dance has had a long tradition in African and Black communities. While its origins are in the African community, stepping has spread to Latino, Asian cultures to multicultural fraternities and sororities as well.

It is commonly mistaken to be cultural appropriation when practiced by people who are not African.

“The purpose of the step club is to unify the community and breaking the stereotype of stepping/ stomp being a “Black thing”. Yes, it comes from African culture, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t share the culture with one another,” Pelt said.

There are steppers all around the world, and stepping has been documented and featured in many popular movies like “Stomp the Yard” and “Stepsisters.”

“I always wanted to have a step team here since my freshman year, and since I’m graduating early that idea turned into an ambition and a goal to leave NN with an imprint of mine. After that we filled out the new club proposal sheet and viola!; a new club was born,” said Pelt.

With the beginning of this club, students will get a chance to express themselves and continue the legacy and let the influence of the dance reach a lot of new people.

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The Student News Site of Niles North High School
Niles North steps its way up with new Step Club