Tickets: $12 in advance, $17 day of show
The best step teams from the West Coast will descend upon Tucson Saturday for the annual Ice Train Classic Step Show, hosted by the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
What started as a Homecoming event six years ago has grown into one of the largest step shows in the West, said Jomar Jenkins, president of the Zeta Theta chapter.
"It's a chance to show people about black greek life at the school and get the UA's name out there," said Jenkins, a business economics senior. "It's a pretty big event."
Averaging about 1,200 attendees per year over the last four years, the organizers expect even bigger crowds for this year's show because of increased advertising, said UA alumnus and Alpha Phi Alpha member Eugene Thompson.
The fraternity has been promoting the show at local high schools, as well as through spots on the radio and MTV, Thompson said.
Originally held in the Social Sciences building, Jenkins said this year is the second year in a row the show will be held in Centennial Hall, which can hold more than 2,400 people.
Stepping involves synchronized movements, such as stomping and clapping, as well as incorporating singing, dancing and comedic skits. Black fraternities and sororities use step as a source of both competition and camaraderie. Each organization has a distinct style that has evolved over many years.
Thompson helped plan the first Ice Train Classic in 2000. He said it started because he felt like the UA needed more culture.
"It started as a way to give UA an opportunity that people on other campuses were getting," Thompson said. "It's come a long way in six years."
Eight university teams from Arizona and California and two high school teams from Phoenix and Tucson will compete for prizes totaling $5,000, Jenkins said. Teams will be judged on eight criteria, including complexity, creativity, synchronization and crowd interaction.
Thompson encouraged students and members of the community to attend the show not only to have a good time, but because the money raised goes to fund Alpha Phi Alpha's community service projects and other programs on campus, which include a program to encourage students to go to college after high school.
Tickets for the step show are $12 in advance and $17 the day of the show. They can be purchased at the Centennial Hall box office or at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center. Doors will open at 2 p.m. Saturday.
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