Mississippi State University's National Pan-Hellenic Council will host its 26th Annual Homecoming Step Show on Nov. 22 in the Newell-Grissom Building. The doors open at 6 p.m., and the event begins at 7 p.m.
The step show performance is a long-standing MSU tradition. However, this year for the first time, NPHC has collaborated with Music Makers and the Student Association to host a concert following the show. The featured guest this year is Jacquees, who just recently dropped a new album called "The King of R&B." Jaquees will perform his new album for the first time at this event.
The step show is a competition between sororities and fraternities that are members of the NPHC. Each sorority and fraternity compile a 10-minute performance that fits within the overall theme of the show. The performances consist of skits in the form of videos that are also incorporated within their steps.
This year, the overall theme of the show is "Stepping Down Memory Lane." Eric Lucas, a senior biomedical engineering major and outgoing NPHC president, commented on the overall theme.
"We chose this theme to honor alumni and their accomplishments while also reminiscing on the growth of our council," Lucas said.
Stepping dates back to the pre-Civil war era and remains important to African American culture as it connects them to their heritage.
"Stepping is a way to congregate and gather a sense of community among African-Americans. This eventually transformed into black letter Greek organizations as a way to celebrate together as a group as brothers and sisters as one," Lucas said.
A lot of preparation goes into the step show. Fraternities and sororities practice almost every day up to three months before the event. According to Myla Yong, a junior kinesiology major and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., many students on campus look forward to the event.
"The step show is the highlight of homecoming that everyone looks forward to all year long," Young said.
Not only do current students gather at the event, but alumni also return to watch the show each year. Last year there were over 2,000 people in attendance. This year, NPHC anticipates a crowd of over 3,500 people.
Lucas is also a member of the Kappa Beta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha and performed in the show last year. He explained that while some may think all step routines are the same, each organization has its own steps and moves that are unique to them. This ensures that no routine is the same. It also allows each fraternity and sorority to develop their own performance style.
Last year, the first place winner was the Kappa Beta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. This year, it is expected to be a tough competition. There will be two first-place winners, one sorority and one fraternity. Each winner will receive a $500 check for their organization.
Tickets are on sale for $10 and can be purchased in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life located on the third floor of the Union, online at events.msstate.edu or at the door on the day of the event. The concert is included in this ticket price, and the money raised from the event will go back into the NPHC operating budget which will go towards other events hosted throughout the year.
Abby Carberry, a graduate assistant in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority life and former member of Zeta Tau Alpha, said it is a unique and incredible experience for those who have never been to a step show before.
"If you ... have not seen their step shows before, it will blow you away and is truly incredible," Carberry said.