Steppin’ out: Step to Perfection rolls in annual showcase

Matt Busekroos

Loud thumping and smacking could be heard in Burt Kahn Court last Saturday during Step to Perfection’s Annual Showcase.

As soon as Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” blasted through the speakers, the performance felt epic—and that was only five minutes in.

Step to Perfection Captain Danielle Chambers came up with the digital theme of the performance to coincide with the hype surrounding the iPad and auto-tune. The team voted on several potential themes and every member had their turn to express an idea. The digital theme won out.

“All the other ideas were ‘been there done that,’” Chambers said. “They were old and played out. We wanted to think outside the box.”

Chambers also felt inspiration from pop sensation Lady GaGa.

“She’s so different and I love it,” she said. “Our digital theme also has a futuristic aspect to it. We figured her music represents what music will be like in the future.”

The step performance consisted of several routines featuring songs that incorporated the digital aspect heavy with auto-tune. The team used sound effects and robotic movements. They also created a fictional device called the iStep, which was a small prop created to teach anyone how to step.

While the step team felt they performed their best, they did not have the proper facilities to put on the best show they could. Ideally, a larger version of Buckman Theater would have been preferred, Chambers said.

“The acoustics in [Burt Kahn Court] sound horrible,” Chambers said. “Buckman needs to be bigger. And their stage is actually a stage. [Quinnipiac is] doing all this construction, they might as well re-construct Buckman.”

Sophomore Mimi Kotowski joined both step and the dance portion of the step team this year. The showcase would be her first performance in front of a large crowd.

“It has been stressful because I’m nervous,” Kotowski said before the performance. “I’m not really sure if I know the steps we have to do and I have a major part in the showcase.”

Kotowski’s nerves weren’t visible based on her performance during the showcase where she provided surprising comic relief.

The dance portion of the routine paled in comparison, especially with Dance Fusion present, according to some. Dance Fusion performed a routine during the second half of the show that ultimately won them second place at their competition at Westfield State Sunday afternoon.

“I was blown away by Dance Fusion,” freshman Jessica Cusumano said. “There was a lot going on at once. The choreography was intricate. They were very precise. They worked together well and all of their moves were in synch.”

On the other hand, Cusumano was left less than impressed with the dance portion of step’s showcase featuring just the dancers from the step team.

“I was not impressed by the dance performers,” Cusumano said. “They obviously put the weaker people as the dancers.”

Freshman Maggie Wertz, a member of Dance Fusion, commends the dancers for the effort they put into their performance.

“[The dancers] trying was all that really matters,” Wertz said. “It was different. It didn’t look great, but step is not always known for dancing amazingly.”

Seniors Katelyn Croce, Amy Johnson, Erica Perry and Kelly Richardson performed their final showcase on Saturday, marking the end of a surely bittersweet evening given the success of the performance, while still having to confront the recent loss of their charter. The team was allowed to perform their showcase since the revocation of their charter does not take effect until next semester.

Roughly one complete section of bleachers were filled, leaving Chambers and others on the team satisfied knowing more students showed up this year. Chambers credits higher attendance to more skillful advertising and word of mouth.

“Attendance was much different than last year,” Chambers said. “We would have promoted more to get more schools involved. But there was a competition the same day that everyone was participating in.”

As for Kotowski, she is blessed to have been a part of such a welcoming team this past year.

“Step has been nothing but a positive experience for me,” she said.  “Everyone on the team is amazing and I’m really looking forward to continuing it throughout my junior and senior years.”

Kotowski adds that step is different from the ordinary and feels that it is worth it for any student to get involved.

“People think you have to know how to step in order to join,” Kotowski said. “Everyone on the team takes time to teach everyone.”

Photo credit: Amanda Shulman