NPHC fraternaties dazzle at annual yard show

by Antonio Zaragoza

Antonio Zaragoza, Editor in Chief

San Diego State students gathered under the sweltering midday sun to watch members of two fraternities step and stroll in a yard show last Friday. Despite the blazing 106-degree heat, members of the Phi Beta Sigma and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternities, dressed up for the occasion, wearing dress pants, button-up shirts and ties. Both fraternities dazzled the large crowd of several hundred cheering spectators in an hour-long show, which took place on Campanile Walkway next to the Love Library.

Phi Beta Sigma member Mark Black participated on Friday and said the steps represent the historic black fraternities and sororities which existed when universities were segregated. Traditionally, the shows were meant to increase public awareness of the organizations, but were also used as a recruiting technique to bring in new members. Stepping originated from South African miners who wore Wellington boots, which were commonly called “gum boots.” The boots were adorned with bells and served as a means of communicating with other miners while working underground.

At the end of the workday, the miners would often gather and dance in celebration of their hard work. The dancing, which involves polyrhythmic beats and requires total body articulation, is drawn directly from cultural African dances. Today, stepping is performed around the world as well as high schools and universities across the country.

“The dances let people know we’re here, so they can join and make a difference on campus and in the community, and that’s why we’re here,” Black said.

Antonio Zaragoza, Editor in Chief

Kappa Alpha Psi members handed out red flowers to ladies in the crowd and delivered an electrically charged performance that the several hundred spectators seemed to enjoy.

Sociology student Ashley Melendez said she always looks forward to seeing the yard shows performed at the beginning of every semester by members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

“It’s fun and very live. There’s friendly competition, but it’s all about culture and it gets everyone revved up for the school year,” Melendez said.