Youth share friendship, faith as Alpha Omega Steppers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 28, 2010

Steppers, HALT!”

And with one loud stomp, the Alpha Omega Steppers, make their presence known.

Team Captain E’Keria Williams, 12, a seventh grader at Robert Lewis Middle School, breaks formation and scans the rows for the proper stepper’s stance — hands clasped, arms up, feet together, faces forward.

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Williams returns to her spot. And then suddenly, without warning, the steppers go into a foot stomping, hand clapping, thigh slapping routine that produces one common, rhythmic sound.

“They are well trained and they like what they do,” said Alpha Omega Steppers founder Tammy Williams, who is also E’Keria’s mother.

Tammy turns and asks the team, “Do you like what you do?”

“Yes, ma’am!” they all reply.

The 13 youth who represent the Alpha Omega Steppers range in age from 9 to 13. They draw their inspiration from the competitive schoolyard song and dance rituals practiced by historically black fraternities and sororities beginning in the mid-1900s. The youth are also driven by the word of God.

“Me and my husband Ernest had a dream of having (youth) praise and worship God in their own unique way,” Tammy Williams said. “The whole goal of the group is you don’t have to be under the same roof to praise God, but you have to have the same purpose.”

The team practices every Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Williams’ house on Roselawn Drive. The car garage serves as their practice studio.

The team learns approximately 10 routines during the summer, and steps are added to each routine as the year progresses.

Memorizing synchronized steps and praise chants is not easy, but the steppers know what it takes to create their signature sound.