Sigma Gamma Rho performs their routine during the CGC's Yard Show on Feb. 23 in Lamberton Hall. The National Pan-Hellenic Council consists of nine different organizations, often referred to as the Divine 9. (Shana Lichaw/B&W Staff)

Members educate and entertain through dance at MGC yard show

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Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that members of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. from other schools performed at the Yard Show. The women, in fact, were alumnae who helped charter Lehigh’s Sigma Gamma Rho chapter.

On average, a dancer can burn about 1,100 calories in a three-hour practice session.

The members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. burned nearly 9,000 calories in practices the week leading up to the Cultural Greek Yard Show, held in Lamberton Hall on Feb. 23.

Current members of organizations like Kappa Alpha Psi put forth this effort to honor the heritage and traditions of their organizations’ founding members.

The Divine 9, a group of historically black Greek letter organizations, along with fraternities and sororities belonging to the National Multicultural Greek Council, put on yard shows to educate the public about their organizations and recruit new members.

“Performing for me is not necessarily about giving the audience a show, but also about educating them about who the Divine 9 are and what we care about,” said Julius Wibisono, ’20, a Kappa Alpha Psi member. “Performing is great, though. It’s amazing seeing how the crowd reacts, but it’s also really heartwarming to see people engaging with us as we educate them.”

Djenne Dickens, ’18, the Cultural Greek Council president and a member of Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Inc., said yard show performances include stepping, strolling and saluting.  

Wibisono said stepping is normally done without music. He said it involves the rhythmic stamping of feet and clapping of hands and is a way of paying homage to slaves who used these movements to communicate with each other.

Dickens also said many multicultural sororities and fraternities don’t step to show respect to the Divine 9 organizations and the heritage of their members. She said strolling, a dance done in a line to represent chained slaves, is performed by organizations of the Divine 9 and the National Multicultural Greek Council.

Wibisono said many organizations use different styles of strolling in their performances. Members of Kappa Alpha Psi call their style of strolling “shimmying.”

Wibisono said the group also performs a “cane stroll” with canes, which are a prop specific to Kappa Alpha Psi. Each of the Divine 9 organizations has its own distinct paraphernalia.

Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. member Arianna Piniero, ’20, said her group strolls and salutes. The chapter performs a type of stroll known as “party walking” and specifically performs a “Unity Stroll.” She said many Multicultural Greek Councils and Divine 9 organizations perform both universal steps and strolls, as well as choreographing their own.

“I choreograph most of the strolls LTA uses,” Piniero said. “It gives me an opportunity to show what my organization means to me and I (choreograph) by looking at other chapter’s strolls and adapting them — keeping it classy and really dynamic.”

She said saluting does not involve movement, but rather introduces an organization and pays homage to its past and current members with two-to-three-minute speeches. Salutes can be done in multiple languages.

“Yard shows are about performing and showing people what we do, while giving them information about the organization,” Dickens said. “But yard shows are also about people having fun.”

Lehigh invited the The College of New Jersey’s chapter of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. to perform the show’s opening act. Wibisono, Piniero and Dickens said inviting chapters from other schools is a way to encourage Lehigh students to start a new active chapter on campus.

Additionally, a four alumnae who helped charter the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. chapter at Lehigh performed a step dance in Friday’s yard show. Dickens said the performance was an attempt to recruit students as new members, because the sorority is currently inactive at Lehigh.

Lehigh chapters, including Lambda Sigma Upsilon Fraternity, Inc., Lambda Theta Alpha, Mu Sigma Upsilon and Kappa Alpha Psi, also performed at the yard show.

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  1. Thanks for the coverage. One small correction, however: The article notes that “Additionally, members of other schools’ chapters of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. performed a step dance in Friday’s yard show.” This is an inaccurate statement. The women, myself included, who performed in the yard show are Lehigh Alums and we’re 4 of the 5 women who helped charter the Tau Zeta chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho at Lehigh.

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