Step dancers uses their whole body to create different beats and rhythms. When the members come together, they combine to create innovative formations and sounds that are beautiful to the eyes and ears. Stepping has become popular partially because of its use by black sororities and fraternities. This type of dance is so popular, in fact, that a national step competition was the focus of the movie Stomp the Yard.

Though stepping became a staple at many universities during the 20th century, the Hilltop was without a team until Georgetown University Step Team was founded in 1998.

“[The founders] wanted more diversity in terms of different dance and artistic groups on campus,” GUST President Stephanie Frenel (SFS ’12) said. “Our mission is to promote unity and diversity through the art of stepping, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job.”

Because of the group’s focus on togetherness, they don’t hold auditions; everyone who shows up to rehearsals is a member. “What turns a lot of people off from other dance groups is having to audition, because they don’t think they’re good enough,” Frenel said. But GUST focuses on teaching members of all experience levels a new type of movement.

Like most of the group’s members, Frenel had never stepped before college.

“It was something I always wanted to do when I was younger, but I never had time to do it. I sought out the Step Team when I came to Georgetown.”

Melissa Clansky (NHS ’13), one of the group’s two captains, fell in love with the group during her first days on the Hilltop. After seeing GUST perform at a pep rally during New Student Orientation, she knew she wanted to be a member. “My sister went to Georgetown and she always saw them perform, so [she told me] ‘You should join it,’ and then Step Team performed and I loved them,” she said.

GUST performs primarily at events on campus. They’ve shown off their moves at Student Activities Commission Fair and on the stage in Gaston Hall during Unity Live and Groove Theory’s showcase. In the past, they’ve even made appearances during halftime at basketball games at Verizon Center.

On Friday, the group will host its annual show, this year called “Steppin’ Outta Line.” In addition to GUST, the show will feature a competition between four high school step teams from the D.C. metro area.

Though this skilled team can make handling syncopated rhythms look easy, Frenel explained that it’s not as simple as it can seem. “I think the most challenging part is making the muscle memory of the different rhythms that we do,” she said.gust

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