Here to Rock the Stage: Seismic Step

Julia Paiano (

After a couple of inactive years, due to the pandemic and remote learning, the Seismic Step Team is back in full force and ready to show the campus what they are made of. The team has about ten steppers and an executive board, with more students showing interest in stepping each day. For background, stepping was first performed by Black fraternities and sororities, commonly known as the Divine Nine, as a form of dance that uses the body to create percussive movements. The body is used in a form similar to an instrument to create a variety of sounds through movements such as claps, snaps, steps, and words that all come together in formation of a dance. 

This year’s captain, Grace Brittingham ’22, shared how Seismic impacted her transition to college when she was a freshman here. “I felt like I could have another place where I could express myself. This group brings culture, music, and history to UC.” Brittingham, who is also the President of Sankofa Umoja Nia added, “This was something that I knew would attract more students who looked like me.” Brittingham expressed her feelings of the lack of culture and unity on campus, but also that Seismic is something that continues to progress the community. Morgan McFarland ’25 echoes Brittingham’s sentiment, “Through the step team I’ve met so many people and joined other clubs. I feel like I am actually a part of the community, not just another student.” Morgan points to the growing culture due to Seismic, “Stepping is an activity not often seen at non-HBCUs so I am eager to get the chance to participate in it here.”

Thus far this semester, Seismic has performed during the Homecoming Football game at halftime, The Celebration of Lights, and at S.U.N’s Cafe Nia. Their loud applause at these events speaks for itself proving that the crowd agrees. “We practice hard and leave it all on the stage when we perform,” Brittingham commented. Some people in the stands even recited their “Rock the Stage” chant in their first step, and their exit where the team cheered “Seismic!”

They will be performing in their fall semester Seismic Jam on December 10th. Seismic Jam will feature performances from not only Seismic but other step teams. It will be a time of dancing, unity, and fun so they invite the entire campus community to come to the event and get in on the action! Co-Captain of Seismic Step, Maia Peele ’23 emphasized that, “We are excited to share the culture of step with the campus community through events such as our Seismic Jams!”

Peele and Brittingham both hope that Step continues to live on long after they have left Ursinus. “Seismic Step is a movement that matters just as much as any other club or sport on this campus and I hope that I can come back ten years from now and still see this movement thriving.” Brittingham concluded. Peele followed up and said, “We are counting on the first-years and underclassmen to continue our legacy of stepping.” For anyone interested in joining, Peele states, “Our team is open to the whole campus and its African roots serve as a form of expression for us.” Practices are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8-10pm in the Institute for Inclusion and Equity.

Image Courtesy of Julia Paiano