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September 21, 2007

Stomping On The Yard National Step Show Championship @ Liacouras Center, Philadelphia - 9/15


Considered to be the 'super bowl' of step shows, Stomping On The Yard: SUPER STOMP, presented by Boost Mobile, is billed as a celebration of leadership, scholarship & showmanship. Don't let the cordial subscript fool you however, because this championship competition is also one electrifying event. Not only did the real life step tour inspire the box office hit film Stomp the Yard, the one-of-a-kind competition also boast its own ESPN special.  This night was the culmination of a national step tour, now in its forth year.  The show brought a sold out Liacouras Center crowd to its feet for performance after performance, as historically Black fraternaties and sororities lit up the stage with eleborate sets, routines and costumes.  One by one, the various teams vied for the title of national step champions.  Adding even more sizzle (and comic relief) was America's favorite perfect gentleman, Fonzworth Bentley, who drew uprourious screams from fans when he hit the stage as host of the competition.  If you had a doubt, a misconseption, or were just plain uninformed about step as an elevated art form, this night was the night that you learned...




If you haven't been to a competition like this, you most likely have never in your life seen stepping at this level.  Nearly every single team executed their performances with military precision, including incredible athleticism and stage effects afforded by a serious production budget.  Cornerstones of the show were the props, sets and costumes for which no detail was spared.  I mean, you know it's serious when Darth Vader steps out with light saber in hand.



The champion sorority of the night, Zeta Phi Beta, shook their tambourines to the hit song by hometown MC Eve.  They energizing the crowd to an apex with an entrace fit for Caribbean Carnivale.



When I peeped a model helicoper flying in from the roof with greek letters branded on the side, I knew it was about to be a problem!  Sure enough, the Alpha Phi Alpha team went on to best every other participating fraternity as national champions for 2007.  Can you say army of one?





One of the best performances of the night came by way of this Sigma Gamma Rho team.  Those sisters had a sick routine and that no nonesense swagger that could not be denied!  Their voices resounded and you could see in their faces they were about the business. Besides that I just have three words... tossing canes blindfolded.


Pictured above:  'Delta Depot' workers work the stage, coming in second place for the night.





Pictured above:  The audience holds cell phones in the air in memoriam of those we lost in war and in the struggle.  Never one to not speak his mind, Mr. Bentley urged young people to vote in 2008 as enthusiastically as they hit record stores for Kanye and 50.  Preach!


Pictured above:  It was a great moment when I bumped into Tina backstage because she was actually the chapter president of S.G. Rho when I won their Greater Service, Greater Progress scholarship in 2005.  I can't stress enough to those unfamiliar how much fraternal organizations do far more than stepping... they constantly give back as well.




It felt good to return to the Liacouras Center arena at Temple Univeristy, my alma matter, for this memorable event (the week was also highlighted by an entertainment industry career panel called Game Behind The Game).  Following the announcement of the winners, confetti exploded into the air and the 4 hour extravaganza ended with a press conference backstage.  While the winning ladies spoke eloquently about donating their $10,000 cash prize to causes, paying dues, and continuing their elaborate productions, the fellas took a more playful route explaiming their plans to party like rockstars!  And with ten g's... they can afford it.

Jon Pierre also serves as the executive editor of the soon launching RecordBreakerWeekly.com and as host of Tha Sity Show podcast. Be sure to listen to Fonzworth Bentley's interview from the aforementioned panel event, Game Behind The Game, & more at http://myspace.com/thasityshow.

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yes! stepping is so much more than some people realize... from a celebration of our roots, to a display of brotherhood and sisterhood, dedication and hard work, it proves to be a true art form at this level

thanks for the review :-)


Looks like a very entertaining event, that place was packed! It makes me wish I woulda went to a HBCU. Next year you should take Marceline.


Wow, I wish I was there! Stepping is definitely a subculture that more people should look into, not just for the excitement but also the history behind it. Good job! Your review and pictures made me feel like I was actually at the show.

Andre Beache

I am one of the Omegas that Stepped in the Super Stomp 2008 show in Philly I am trying to see when this show is airing on TV....

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