UK’s NPHC step show: ‘breaking the stage, unifying the campus’


UK and National Pan-Hellenic Council alumni perform a joint opening act during the annual step show held on Friday, October 11, 2019, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Natalie Parks | Staff

Natalie Parks

As people streamed through the doors, the energy inside the ballroom ramped up. Alumni and students alike were gathered to witness a night of talent, hard work and community.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council’s annual step show delivered on all three.

This year’s sold-out show featured performances from five of the council’s organizations, said Ayanna Wright, external step show chair for NPHC.

Stepping is a percussive dance style, where beats are formed using stomping, clapping and spoken word. Wright said the step show is a historical event for NPHC’s predominately black organizations.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Incorporated competed in the step show.

At the beginning of the show, alumni from each organization did a joint performance to welcome the crowd.

Then, the fraternities and sororities in NPHC took the stage. Each group created a unique performance that showcased the heart of their organization.

“It really is an honor to be here to watch them put in all the hard work that they’ve done and just like a celebration of the black community as a whole,” said Kennedy Brown, who was crowned Ms. Black UK at Wednesday night’s pageant hosted by the Black Student Union.

Performances were judged on “creativity, precision, crowd engagement”, said Wright. The winners received a trophy and $500.

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Incorporated won first place for fraternities and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority placed first among sororities.

Audience members were highly engaged in the show, singing and doing the cheer of each fraternity or sorority. Performers and audience members alike fed off the energetic atmosphere.

“For me, it’s a celebration of a bunch of hard work cause I know that everybody within NPHC they worked so hard to perform and get together like this,” said Payton Anderson, crowned Mr. Black UK at Wednesday’s pageant.

Tickets for the event sold out a few hours before it began. Wright said that historically, the step show has been the largest event for NPHC and that this year’s event is special because of UK’s celebration of 70 years of integration.

Profits from the event will fund NPHC’s community engagement programs, said Wright.