Royalty Step team presents the crown

All the step teams gathered on stage at the end of the competition to receive a round of applause.
All the step teams gathered on stage at the end of the competition to receive a round of applause.
Vanja Bogdanovic

Screams erupted from the crowd as stomps and claps bounced off the walls of the auditorium during the DGS’s Royalty Step Teams first annual Royal Stomp Down.

The competition was hosted on Feb. 3 and brought in a total of seven schools and a showcase from our own Royalty Step Team. Stepping is a form of percussive dance in African American culture that is used as a form of communication and storytelling. It is most frequently used in Greek Sororities or Fraternities, but has made it’s way into the High School setting.

The steppers are coached by DGS security guard Alice Freelon, who has been their coach since 2018. Freelon shared her take on how the performances went.

“The steppers work extremely hard to create their own routines. Of course there is always room for improvement but they are aware of what those improvements are,” Freelon said.

Each team had their own theme to go along with their routine. The routines are a combination of music, dancing, stomping, clapping as well as words. Overall the steppers tell a story with their performance.

At the Royal Stomp Down, DGS’s team showcased part of their competition routine and gave the audience the creeps. Senior Kaitlyn Phillips is a step master on the team and shared the theme of this performance.

“So we’re doing a little bit of our competition routine so we have this whole plot where it’s like we’re a haunted cleaning crew and like we’re trying to take revenge on the town and it’s a really cool plot. Since it’s our competition, we’re just showcasing it,” Phillips said.

Being a step master means Phillips helps with the main choreography of the routine. She is assisted by the members of her cabinet, including senior Sharod Murphy who has the role of ‘Mr. Fix-It.’

“I am one of the cabinet members, which are the student leaders. My role in the cabinet is “Mr. Fix-It” meaning I just look for errors and tell them what to fix during a step,” Murphy said.

Each member of the step team has their own role, but they all work together to form their routines. Preparation can take a long time, but eventually everything comes together.

“Honestly, we’re always preparing. We rarely do the same routine twice. We had a month and a half to prepare for our first competition back in November. We’ve had four competitions since then, and we’ve changed music, steps, formations and more,” Freelon said.

The competition brought in steppers from Hinsdale South High School, Bolingbrook High School, Lyons Township High School, Vi-Kings and Queens of Excellence, Merrillville High School, Harvey Markham Alumni Chapter and a showcase from Clifford Pierce Middle School. There were four judges of the competition, including security guard Kevin Rogers, who was also a stepper in a fraternity.

“We are judging them on their skill and precision, their intro outro, their costumes and their music, like does it match the theme,” Rogers said.

The Vi-Kings and Queens of Homewood Flossmoor took the crown at this year’s Royal Stomp Down. The DGS Royalty Steppers will be competing next on Feb. 10, with regionals coming in April.

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