StompFest 2011 opens with changes to tradition

Baylor Transfer Council rehearses a Lion King-themed act for Stompfest 2011 Thursday in Waco Hall.
Nick Berryman | Lariat Photographer

By Liz Hitchcock

The Baylor’s 11th annual StompFest is starting at 7 p.m. today in Waco Hall, with another performance at the same time Saturday.

“Stepping is an African America tradition that has evolved over the years,. It involves using your hands and feet to make rhythmic sounds and beats. It’s one of the most creative, challenging and entertaining art forms of today,” said Memphis, Tenn., senior Britney Thorton.

Thorton is a member of Zeta Phi Beta, the sorority that is organizing the event. She is also a coach for the Zeta Tau Alpha team.

Along with Zeta Phi Beta, Student Productions is organizing the event, which is not just a performance. StompFest is a competition, as well.

StompFest will look a little different this year. A first change being made is a more specific focus on a theme.

“The theme of Stompfest this year is Blockbuster movies, so each act will be performing with a theme of a different movie,” Beth Roller, graduate apprentice at Student Productions, wrote in an e-mail interview with The Lariat.

Alpha Delta Pi’s performance will be based on “The Godfather,” Olney sophomore Krista Pirtle said. Delta Sigma will be performing an homage to the musical, “Chicago,” according to Frisco, junior, Michael Minchew.

“About half the teams are Greek organizations, and the other half are independent teams. We have coaches from the National Pan-Hellenic teaching the people that are unfamiliar with stepping and helping them with their routines,” Thorton said.

This year will be different from past step shows because there will be two nights of competition, each will have different performances.

“[It is] our first year having an elimination round,” Roller said. “The first night we will have 15 teams competing in 2 categories (greek and independent organizations).”

With the second night comes another change this year.

“The second evening, for the elimination round, the top three teams from each category, as well as one wildcard, will compete for the top three places.”

The wildcard team will be chosen through audience votes. StompFest has never had a segment of the show judged by the audience, so it will be interesting to see which team will succeed, Pirtle said.

“There is going to be a big audience choice to save one team to go on to Saturday,” Pirtle said. “So it’s really a lot more competitive and more of a showcase this year.”

Another change from the past years at StompFest is there will be shorter performances, as well as the more focused theme.

“In the past, performances have been around 10 to 15 minutes long,” Minchew said.

“I remember that when I first came to Baylor, the performances were about twice as long as they are now. I think it will be less skit material and more quick, serious stuff. Back in the day they had more dialogue.”

StompFest is also a philanthropic endeavor by Zeta Phi Beta.

Last year the sorority raised $4,000 from ticket sales and this year they intend to reach a higher goal, Thorton said.

“The Zetas and the student production staff has done a really great job of getting everything organized,” Pirtle said. “I think it will be a really great event.”

Tickets are for sale at the door for $10.