Southern Vance team off to CIAA Tournament
Members of Southern Vance High’s Psi Phi Nu step team are headed to Charlotte today to compete in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association 2013 Stepshow Throwdown and High School Stepoff.
After beating out nearly 30 other schools for a chance to compete in the CIAA’s competition for the first time, the team is up against seven other schools for a $500 first place prize.
Daniel Jordan, current coach of the step team and a social worker at Southern Vance, also attended the school and was a member of Psi Phi Nu, which originated in 1992.
“The reasoning Psi Phi Nu developed was to have a male society in school that exemplifies academic success, positive peer interaction, and leading by example,” Jordan said. “I’m a strict disciplinarian.”
Members of Psi Phi Nu are required to pass all classes, and are not allowed to receive disciplinary referrals during school.
All 15 members of the step team understand the high standards to which they are held. Missing one class can lead to suspension from the team for an entire semester.
“If they do miss one, they’re out for the semester,” Jordan said.
With a higher level of academic and behavioral expectations, the 15 boys that make up Psi Phi Nu are given the opportunity to volunteer in their community.
Currently team members are working with 19 students at Henderson Middle, acting as mentors and teaching techniques and strategies for developing their step team.
William Kittrell, a senior at Southern Vance, says repetition is a key factor of mastering routines.
“We do it till everybody gets it right,” Kittrell said.
Psi Phi Nu practices three times a week after school, and many members utilize Southern Vance’s SMART Lunch period for an hour of extra practice. During a week of competition the team will practice everyday.
With such frequent contact, and through the step team's practice of unity, positivity and brotherhood, a bond has formed among members of the team.
“We all love each other,” said Christopher Solomon, senior and four-year member of Psi Phi Nu.
A close bond isn’t the only connection. All have a passion for dance and frequently practice by mimicking choreography seen in music videos.
Several have taken a variety of dance classes, including Kittrell who participated in ballet for two years.
Junior Kayshon Hawkins has taken yoga and hip-hop classes in the past, and sophomore Torian Henderson previously danced in a group known as the D.C. Boys.
During Saturday’s competition the team will perform a routine based on the competition’s theme, a night at the movies.
“The movie we are portraying is ‘The Great Debators,’” said Kendell Williams, a two-year step master and senior at Southern Vance. “They asked us to incorporate black history, and we have to convey how our team is active in the community.”
A $500 prize will also be given to the team most accurately portraying their roots in the community, $250 of which must be donated to a charity.
The team’s highest accolade occurred last year when Psi Phi Nu finished second in the Disney Step Classic, a national competition.
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