This past weekend was Family Weekend, a time when Yale invites all of its students’ families to campus. Hundreds of families from around the world come to Yale and attend performances, visit museums, go on tours, experience New Haven food culture, and more. This year, families arrived in the midst of midterm season and offered a happy distraction from work.
I’m a member of Yale’s Steppin’ Out - Yale’s first and only step team - and Family Weekend holds a special place in my heart, because it’s when all of Yale’s student performance groups show off their newest members.
Step is a form of dance that involves making beats and rhythms with only your body - kind of like a body percussion dance form. Although we are an official dance team, not everyone on the team can dance, myself included.
Step Team recruitment begins at the start of fall semester. We host workshops, teach steps, and invite students to audition. This year more than 50 people auditioned, and we “tapped” 9 new members - 7 freshmen, 1 sophomore, and 1 junior. We are so happy to have them on the team! They’re fun, energetic, and amazing at step.
Our Family Weekend performance was our first show of the year with the new members, and it was absolutely amazing. We divide the group in two, with our “New Taps” and “Old Taps” performing two separate pieces. In only about three weeks the New Taps all learned a series of basic steps and were ready to perform. The show was at the Crescent Underground Theater, a residential college theater, where we performed with Yale’s Rhythmic Blue (RB), a hip hop dance group, and Yale Jashan Bhangra, a group that performs a vibrant South Asian dance that combines traditional Punjabi folk with modern pop and hip hop. Although audience members arrived more than thirty minutes early to buy tickets, we sold out before the show began. The parents, siblings, high school friends, and Yallies in the audience offered an unbelievable amount of energy. Layla, one of our new taps, brought 10 people to the show alone!
This performance is so important for the step team and Yale community every fall.As Old Taps teach steps and help the New Taps prepare for their first performance, our members bond and the personality of this year’s group starts to gel. Many New Taps have never experienced the adrenaline that is unique to the stage. As Old Taps, we showed off our newest members and bragged about them. With over 100 things to do on campus on Family Weekend and it being the middle of midterm season, I am thankful for the people that came to our show. My friends and suitemates were there, showing their support, as they’ve done many times in the past.
I am so excited and happy to welcome the newest members of Steppin’ Out and look forward to stepping, hanging out, dancing, and acting foolish with them this year. Stay tuned for more updates on the step team as we face Harvard during our famous Harvard-Yale Football Game Weekend!