Step squad steps up

By Ashan Singh
Published: April 2010

Almost a year ago, it seemed like the glory days of the South Step Squad had ended. The ground-shaking performances at the annual pep-rally and the passionate routines recited once a year at Tertulia had simply become something for people to reminisce over.

“Freshman year, I remember seeing the step squad perform at the pep rally, and it being the one of those things that everyone looked forward to at every South event. The next year, I hardly saw them at anything. It was really disappointing, junior Sophie Bikofsky said.

This year, however, captain junior Chaela Jones was not going to let the South Step Squad fail to bring the excitement they used to bring to a crowd. “This year, I had a target. It wasn’t about having a lot of people, it was about having a small and tight group that was good at stepping: we had to bring the Step Squad back to South, Jones said.

Last year, the squad had a total of 15 members on the team, with four captains, three of which were Seniors (class of 2009) and the fourth was Jones.

After a forgetful performance at the 2008 pep rally in October, the squad quickly deteriorated when the captains realized that the Step Squad could not be their number one priority.
Eventually, captains stopped showing up to practices, and the members started to follow suit. “It was frustrating for me, Jones said, “I kept showing up to practice ready to work with everyone, but each captain was telling us to do different things; it just wasn’t good.

Despite the addition of junior Alex Gershanov to the squad last year, the team eventually disbanded, not even having a performance for Tertulia, the school’s annual talent show.
This year, with the help of Gershanov, Jones held a series of tryouts in order to fit her target of a “small and tight squad.

Following the tryouts, the squad was ready to start practicing with seven members, including both Gershanov and Jones. Due to commitment issues and the personal problems of some members, the team was cut down to four students.

The squad, now consisting of Jones, Gershanov, senior Flora Kim, and junior Kyla Kouadio are not the least bit bothered by the small size of the team. “I think we killed it at Tertulia, Jones said. “We all left our hearts on the stage, and really stepped like we never have before.
The squad, doing performances more and more often at South basketball games, has created a name for themselves, bouncing back from what many thought was the end of the South Step Squad.

“The [Step Squad] added so much culture to South. If they were gone, it would really take a lot out of what we look forward to at South events, Bikofsky said.

Next year Jones has big plans for- the Step Squad. “This year we were successful in keeping that small and tight squad that we needed. Now next year, I want to maintain a big and tight squad, where we have a lot of members, but everyone is still able to deliver. I need to find someone who can hold the squad down when I graduate, she said.

Now that senior stepper Flora Kim will be graduating this June, Jones looks to take advantage of the presence of Gershanov and Kouadio by naming them co-captains for the 2010-2011 season. “I want a young team, Jones said, “everyone should be trying out from all grades, but the team needs to still be there when I’m gone. This year, we definitely came back, not as strong as I hoped for it to be, but we still definitely came back. Next year, the team is going to be as strong as ever, she said.

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