OHS step team headed to nationals
By Jenette Sturges firstname.lastname@example.org March 13, 2013 12:56PM
Updated: April 15, 2013 10:45AM
OSWEGO — Following their first-place win at state competition, the Oswego High School Divas and Gents Step Team is stepping it up to nationals.
But first — a quick stop at Chik-fil-A.
Before they leave for national competition in Tennessee on Friday, the co-ed step team has starred in it own whirlwind tour around Oswego, to strut their stuff for Spirit Week.
On Monday, they started their “Kick-Off Shoe Drive” through the Soles for Souls program, collecting new and gently used shoes for people in the developing world.
The team performed at Chick-fil-A on Tuesday, and held a fundraiser at Buffalo Wild Wings on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the Divas and Gents will perform during the Oswego High School Prom Fashion Show, and on Friday they leave for the Music City Step Fest Eighth Annual National Competition in Nashville.
The Divas and Gents won the spot at nationals on March 2, when the Step Team captured the Illinois Stepping League, Coed Division title while performing on its home stage.
Performing for the Divas and Gents were Oswego High School students Adianis Contreras (co-captain), Tony DeLuna, Brandon Heinz, Alexa Hernandez, Amanda Hoffman, Yvette Montoya, Leslye Ortiz, Jelyssa Ramos, Sarah Thies and Taylor White. The team also includes Renee Keyvan (co-captain) and Daniel Ornelas.
They are coached by Monica Martin and assistant coaches Heather Hernandez, Daniel Lozoya and Stacy Harper.
Stepping was born out of historically black fraternities and sororities, but has grown in popularity among students of all backgrounds at the collegiate and high school levels. It is a percussive form of dance that uses footsteps, spoken word and hand claps to create rhythmic music, and sometimes incorporates stunts, break dancing, tap and African or Caribbean dance elements.
This year, the Oswego High School team stepped up their game by joining the National Step Show Alliance and the Illinois Stepping league, which focuses entirely on step competitions, rather than general dance competitions, according to head coach Monica Martin.
“The judging through the Illinois Stepping League has taken stepping to a different level and has raised the bar on the elements our students must acquire such as rotationals, vocal clarity, ripples and syncopation,” Martin said.
In addition to competing, students will spend their time in Tennessee visiting Lipscomb University and Tennessee State University, attending a community health fair, and dining with other first-place step teams from around the country.