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A Brief History Of Stepping

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Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Stepping is awesome and you may have seen it in movies such as Stomp the Yard, How She Move, Drumline, and School Daze, but do you know where it comes from?

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Gamma who? One word...

Stepping derives from the cultural traditions of various African communities that exhibit movement, sounds, and words to illustrate the strength of unity.

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It has developed as an evolutionary process since the early 1800s, where its roots trace back to African foot dances such as the West African dance Dun-Dun-Bah from Guinea, the South African gumboot, and Zulu dancing.

As dance company Step Afrika! notes, the stepping traditions that we are familiar with today developed from song and dance rituals performed by historically black fraternities and sororities in the 1900s.

Stepping then spread as a recognized art form on college campuses throughout America, expanding into Latino, Asian, and multicultural fraternities and sororities.

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By incorporating elements of hip-hop, martial arts, cheerleading, and tap dance with the synchronicity of military-type drills, the percussive dance style of stepping has become something mosaic with its varied arrangement of clapping, stomping, singing, and chanting.

Nowadays, performances and competitions are also hosted by local churches, school teams, and community organizations.

X-Ception Step Team / Facebook

Here's more cool stepping stuff:

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Strikers All-Star were featured on season three of MTV's America's Best Dance Crew. They were one of the first dance crews on the show to incorporate stepping into their choreography.

Zacharie Scheurer / AP

Thinking about a career in fashion? Stepping is key!

American fashion designer Rick Owens (Richard Saturnino Owens) recruited a step team from the United States to perform full dance routines while showing off his spring/summer 2014 collection in Paris. More here.

Learn how to do a simple step from this tutorial:

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As easy as pie.

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