By Alyssa Maxwell
Music without a melody: stepping.
Stepping involves using one’s entire body as an instrument to produce rhythm through a mixture of motions: clapping, stepping, gesturing and speaking words.
“Stepping initially came from slavery as a means of communication, and that’s how it started in African-American culture — and we step to honor that,” said Atlanta senior Bryant Daniels. Daniels is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, which hosts an annual show celebrating the art of step.
The fraternity will host its eighth annual Battle of the Burning Sands Step Show, a contest in which step teams compete to win cash prizes, on Saturday in Waco Hall.
Celebrity Marion “Pooch” Hall, who stars in television’s “The Game, will act as the master of ceremonies. Hall has also been in movies such as “Jumping the Broom” and “Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming.”
The show has a history of celebrity involvement. Farnsworth Bentley, who starred in “Honey” and “Fat Albert,” and Alex Thomas, who was a screenwriter for “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” have previously acted as masters of ceremonies for the show.
The show will feature a variety of teams of all ages: middle schoolers, high schoolers, fraternities and sororities.
Though the lineup of performers is kept secret, Longview senior Dexter Dafney, who is also an Alpha, said both the Pi Mu chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha and Rho Theta chapter of Delta Sigma Theta will be performing.
Cash prizes are offered to the first-place and second-place groups of men and women, who will compete in separate divisions. The first-place groups of men and women will receive $1,500, while the second-place groups will receive $750.
Two DJs have been chosen for this year’s show, although normally only one is featured.
Dafney said the additional DJ will help the Alpha’s put on a bigger production this year.
“A majority of the chapter [is made up of] seniors, and we kind of want to switch it up and do it a little bigger this year since most are graduating in May,” Dafney said. The DJs will perform before and after the show.
Pre-sale tickets can be purchased from Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity members and cost $15 for students with a Baylor ID and $20 for all others.
Prices increase $5 if tickets are purchased at the door. Some proceeds will benefit the fraternity’s philanthropy, a charity chosen by the Alphas to receive donations every spring semester.
Donations will also be accepted and will directly benefit the philanthropy, which has not yet been chosen.
Dafney said previous philanthropies have included disaster relief following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.