Every Tuesday night, rain or calm, a group of women gather at the UNC ROTC armory building to clap, stomp and move in unison at the command of their director, Lindsey Jefferies.
“Alright ladies, let’s do it again!”
They are members of the stepping squad born2step, the University’s only official, independent squad. UNC also has several step teams associated with the Greek system.
Kiva Moore, a freshman communication studies major and member of born2step, said stepping could be called dance, but there’s greater freedom to it than other dance types.
“You can use music, but you don’t have to,” Moore said. “We use our hands and feet as the music and rhythm.”
Jefferies founded born2step in October 2009 when she couldn’t find an outlet for stepping outside of the Greek system.
“I would have done it through a sorority, but they’re not stepping all the time. I would’ve been mad,” she said.
Jefferies, a sophomore who has been stepping since she was five, credits her mother as her inspiration.
“My mom had a community group, and I would step here and there, in my church and high school,” she said.
The summer after her first year at UNC, she undertook the project of forming an officially recognized step squad. An older group, called breaknpoint, had lost recognition.
Brittany Nichols, secretary of the Lambda Psi chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., said stepping in the Greek system is not only fun, but a source of pride.
“The Greek aspect changes it. That’s where it originated,” Nichols said.
Nichols also said the tradition of step in sororities and fraternities within the historically black National Pan-Hellenic Council allows them to have signature moves within their organizations.
Moves are passed on from class to class, becoming traditional steps.
The Lambda Psi chapter has passed down the tradition of using canes in their routines, and they are the only sorority to do so.
Born2step also has signature steps that Jefferies developed so that the group could learn something together. After that, she wanted the choreography to be group-oriented, with everyone contributing to the routine.
“We’re always in the brainstorming stage, like, ‘What should we do now, patty cake?’” Jefferies said.
Moore joined the group with no experience, but was eager to learn.
“I love it. We get together and just have a good time thinking about what will look cool,” Moore said.
Born2step now has a membership of 10 women, and anyone is welcome to join, regardless of experience. There are only women in the group currently, but it is open to all.
Jefferies says her main goal is to create a low-stress environment, but that the mission of the group is to entertain others purely through step.
While the Greek steppers have other activities within their organizations aside from purely stepping, Nichols says it’s an important part of their community.
“You bond within the sorority. It’s our tradition and part of our history.”
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