Fraternity keeps traditions alive

By Amy Fredette

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A crowd of about 100 people gathered on the UA Mall Thursday to watch the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity kick off the third annual Kappa Week with a step show.

Four members of the African American fraternity equipped with canes and background music, performed four dances, some dating back to the founding of the University of Arizona chapter in 1911.

Although timing mishaps resulted in a couple of dropped canes, members finished the performance undaunted while the crowd cheered them on.

Step dancing "started back in the days of slavery," said Jeff Wilson, vice-president of the UA chapter. Wilson explained the slaves would hold competitions to see who had the best way of knocking mud off their boots. "It was a way to make fun of a long, hard day of work."

Kappa Alpha Psi participates in nationwide step dancing competitions. John Jackson, president of the chapter, said that the more degree of difficulty, the more points the fraternity receives. He said that it is also a way to get money for their seven member fraternity.

Jackson added that step dancing is important to him because it "shows your colors and your heritage.

"It's some of the traditional stuff that's been passed down from chapter to chapter," he said.

Jackson said the fraternity is very close and all its members look out for each other. "We hold to heart that we are all family."

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