October 7, 2009

Stepping Into Fellowship

Brandie Allen easily fell in line with her father’s footsteps. The 21-year-old junior grew up watching her father perform intricate rhythms of steps and claps in unison with other members of the Phi Beta Sigma step team at Valdosta State University. Allen knew from the moment she saw her first step performance that it would be an activity instilled in her forever.

“My dad always reminisces about his times on the step team, talking about his performances in the old gym,” said Allen, who is majoring in communication sciences and disorders. “I remember when I’d go home and practice stepping he would stop me to show me a few of his steps.”

These days, Allen is the one with the impressive moves as step team coordinator for Zeta Phi Beta. Her sorority celebrated a victorious triumph at the 2008 Homecoming Step Show on Oct. 13 in the P.E. Complex.

“When you finish with the routine you feel a sense of accomplishment, and a bond with everyone else stepping that you can’t feel with other people,” she said. “You relate to the other girls on the team and remember everything you’ve been through with each other.”

The win brought a sense of pride to the sorority, but preparation for the show is what truly brought the team together. The women practiced everyday - Sunday through Thursday - starting at 9:30 p.m. and sometimes practicing as late as 1 a.m. Allen said practices encourage and require a strong bond of support and positive attitudes among the girls.

Sorority members collaborated for nearly a year to develop a theme and routine of steps to convey the message of their 8-minute show.

“When you are in the middle of stepping, you feel an outer body experience, where you have to keep on stepping, but yet you are also in the moment, the adrenaline is really high,” Allen said.

Allen continues to step with her team, making her father proud and feeling a sense of closeness to the black community.

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