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Swag Faces on

Steppin’ Out, Yale’s step-dance team, is not in the business of treading lightly. The team’s practices are not conducive to studying. Their style is emphatic and passionate, and not just because their music is loud. But this is normal in the world of step.

Even with only seven out of 12 active members in attendance, S.O.’s noise can hardly be contained in Branford’s dance studio. The team has only been around since 1997, but in those short 15 years, they’ve enjoyed wild success—especially in recent competitions against Harvard. At last year’s Harvard-Yale talent show during

The Game weekend, the Harvard team took one look at S.O. during dress rehearsal and withdrew. “They saw us at the dress rehearsal,” remembered Christopher Logan, JE ’14, “and then after the dress rehearsal, a representative of their team came up and said, ‘Oh, the Harvard step team isn’t performing anymore.’ And then we stepped without any competition.” This year, they actually competed against Harvard, and destroyed them.

Certain members of the team regale me with in-depth technical analysis of the win, but David Pitera, MC ’15, co-president of S.O., put it plainly: “We know we look good when we do the steps. So one of the big things that we do is have swag face at all times.”

S.O. is versatile, doing performances in a variety of styles. The team usually collaborates with other dance groups for shows—they did a show with Yale’s hip-hop dance group Rhythmic Blue over parents’ weekend—or performs upon request for causes. They’ve slated a solo show called Spring Jam for April, which the dancers hope will spotlight the group.

“You can’t step for 60 minutes straight,” Christina Chandra, SY ’14, explained. To allow the dancers the necessary breaks, the spring show will incorporate skits. “Last year we did our very first big show where we were the main attraction,” Chandra said. “We had it in Morse dining hall, and so many people came, we were afraid the fire marshal was going to shut us down,” she continued half-jokingly.

S.O. has already started putting together skits for the show, which will incorporate an overarching theme, but the group members won’t give me any further hints.

If the animated spirit on display at their rehearsals is any clue, it’s safe to say that S.O. will be wearing their heaviest shoes at Spring Jam—and a whole lot of swag face, too.