(Note: this paragraph is best read with the track above playing) For those of you who don't know, January is commonly known as "Founder's Month" because five of the Divine 9 (D9 for short) Black greek-lettered organizations were all founded this month. Today, in fact, is #J9, the founding date of the most illustrious fraternity known to man: Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. I have been a member of this organization for going on 5 years now, and during that time I have noticed something: people pay attention when the Sigmas are performing. I mean seriously, between winning stepshows and stroll offs nationwide, it got to the point where I had to ask myself "What is it? Are the Sigmas just that much better than the other orgs?" Well, the answer to that is probably yes, but I digress. In my investigation I came to the conclusion that the reason why people love to see the Sigmas so much is because of what they put into their performances. When you see Sigmas step or stroll you can bet it's gonna be energetic, it's gonna be unified, it's gonna be creative and it's gonna be a SHOW. Now even though Sigma seems to have these in abundance, that doesn't mean that the other orgs do not. All of the other January founding date organizations, for example, can emphasize these qualities. Don't believe me? Take a look below.
Showmanship- This one is easy: You must always put on a show. That means interacting with the crowd, giving them something to remember you by, and making them laugh, cheer, dance on the sidelines, oooh and aaaah all during your performance. This video is a classic; the "Sexy" Sigma Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta puts on probably one of the most well known Delta stroll performances of all time. From the shout outs to just their crowd interactions, this one is a prime example of how a good performance will make you legendary.
Unity- The Kappa Kappa Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi shows how good precision and unity is when performing for a crowd. One thing I can say is that if nothing else these guys clearly worked on making sure that every spin, dip, shimmy and shake was on one accord, and believe it or not that's an important part of performing. No one wants to see you doing one move and the person beside you is two 8 counts slow. You all have to at least be CLOSE to being on one accord. (Special S/O to Ronald "JoJo" Turner II for finding this video for me! Preciate it again man!)
Creativity- Creativity is so often overlooked. People will put together any old steps and some half-assed theme and expect to win. The best shows have elements where people planned out everything from the voice overs, to the music, to the clothes to of course the actual movements. It's obvious that is exactly what the Rho Alpha Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. did in this video. When they decided to do a 90s theme they included tracks by Aaliyah, Salt-n-Pepa and more, and even dressed the part. Their strolls were good and their theme was well thought out, which probably explains why they won this competition.
Energy- I know that some of you are probably looking at the organization and the lesson like "...What?" but yes, the Kappa Kappa Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha shows a great example of energy in a performance. Energy isn't just necessarily bouncing off the walls and flipping all over the place (though they did have a cool stunt in the video) but giving it your all and giving face while you do it, and these AKAs definitely did that. You don't want to look like you're bored doing a show because the crowd will be bored with you; so having high energy levels will give the same energy to the crowd.
So take these lessons and combine them in your next performance and you may end up like the two-time AGP sweeping Phi Beta Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. If not...well at least you know what happened and what you can work on. Watch a Sigma step team and stroll team do exactly what Sigmas do below (and make sure you take notes)
No but seriously, I have all kinds of respect for the D9 organizations. Ya'll know the shade be all too real in January, I couldn't resist throwing some of my own. Happy Founder's Day to all of our organizations founded in January, and congratulations on four of us enjoying over 100 years of service! I hope the Nupes enjoyed January 5, because I know we will enjoy today and I hope the Deltas, Ks, and Zetas enjoy January 13, 15, and 16!
Shout out your Greek organization or give your questions, comments, or concerns below! Oh but first...s/o to my home chaper #AZ and BLUUUU PHIIIII!!!