Dorm Step-off 2004 introduced drama, entertainment andcontroversy to homecoming activities on Nov. 1 at DillardUniversity.
In Dent Hall from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. residents of Straight,Williams, Camphor and Hartzell dormitories strutted their stuff ina display of dance, step and vocal performance.
Hartzell emerged victorious after thrilling the packed gymnasium,and a month of intense practice paid off for the squad of 14women.
The ladies of Hartzell received a check from Tabasco Sauces forover $200 as reward for their hard work.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do with the money!” said anexcited Dealphria Tarver, a freshman at Dillard University and aparticipant in the winning team.
The residents of Hartzell were out in full force for thestep-off, wearing dorm t-shirts and raising their voices in supportof their crew.
“We worked really hard for this for a long time, I’m reallyexcited with these results for Hartzell,” Tarver said.
The ladies of Camphor also worked hard for their second placeaward, having left themselves a little less time to prepare thanthe champions.
“We only started practicing two weeks ago. We just didn’t getorganized,” said Miss Camphor 2004, Dorothy Smith, a member of theCamphor step team.
Straight Hall performed as the first act of the evening in anoriginal 12-minute show, but it was the performance of WilliamsHall that left a shadow of controversy around the homecomingevent.
Williams Hall’s troop of 10 delivered an exhilaratingperformance inspired by OutKast’s most recent music video”Prototype,” finishing with a live performance by New Orleansrapper Gotti Boy Chris.
It was the performance of Gotti’s song, “Bend Ova” that costWilliams Hall any chance of placing in the step-off; instead hisperformance earned them an automatic disqualification.
Jeremy McMillan, co-captain of the William’s step team stateddirectly after the event that he was disappointed with thedisqualification but proud of the efforts of his team.
“We went out there and did a great job. I think we won firstplace tonight but because of the disqualification we didn’t get thefirst place trophy,” McMillan said on Monday.
The Williams step team was advised immediately after theirperformance that they had been eliminated from the competition.
“We knew before the performance that if Gotti was to sing we’dbe disqualified so he was only supposed to walk on to the stage andsay his name… when he started to sing I knew we’d lost it.”McMillan added with a sigh.
Though he accepts the fate of the Williams step team McMillan isstill unsure as to exactly why their performance deserveddisqualification.
“The rule book doesn’t say anything about who can participate inthe step-off. I read the rules,” McMillan said.
Dillard University physical education instructor, Elijah Hobleywas one of five judges overseeing the event.
Hobley said that it was not, in fact, the judges who ruled onthe disqualification of the steppers of Williams Hall.
“Williams probably would have won. We were advised after theshow that they had to be disqualified. It wasn’t the judgesdecision,” Hobley said.
The Williams team accepted the ruling and graciously applaudedtheir opponents when the final results were announced, butWilliams’ supporters were not so easily satisfied.
“A lot of people came up to me after the show and asked why wedidn’t place. When I explained the situation they all said wedeserved to win,” McMillan said with a shrug.
Even the 2004 step-off champions said they were frustrated withthe decision.
“We were really disappointed when we heard that Williams wasdisqualified. They were our main competition and we wanted to seehow we would do against them,” Tarver said.
Step-off celebrations continued well into the evening with amidnight breakfast in Kearny dining hall.