by Lisa Tome
After months of practice, the Elkton Middle School Steppers at last took to the stage.
During their performance, the group of a dozen or so sixth through eighth grade girls, had the attention of everyone in the Elkton Middle School gymnasium. They stomped, stepped, and danced into the hearts of those gathered.
The Steppers have officially stepped things up a notch at after school activities.
Stepping, which combines dance moves with hip hop, came to the school by a student. RaeOni Garnett, a sixth grader, asked that the school be allowed to form a team. "We didn't have sports. It's something for all our friends to do," said Garnett.
Faith Trotto is also a Stepper. "We learn different steps. It's fun to be part of a group," said Trotto.
Asia Travers is glad step came to Elkton. "I like the choreographing. I used to be part of a team in Dover. It's fun," said Travers.
"It's fun. All my friends are doing it. It's better than staying home and doing nothing," said Sierra Murray.
Jenny Cowan, an Elkton Middle School paraprofessional and advisor for the Steppers, admitted that Step is new for her. Cowan studied ballet, jazz, and tap dancing and is learning alongside the Steppers.
"I think they're amazing. They're great. I try to do it but they laugh at me," said Cowan.
The Steppers, which generally range between 10-15 girls, first got together in December and have been practicing as many as three times a week. They will perform at the intermural games.
They are also preparing for the school's talent show in April. Cowan said they are open to other performance opportunities.
In the three months since they started practicing, Cowan has already noticed some changes in the group of girls.
"They've definitely become way more unified. It was a whirlwind when we started," said Cowan. She said that some students have stepped up and assumed leadership roles, helping others to learn the moves.
The performance by the Elkton Middle School Steppers was held as part of the Middle School Movers intermurals basketball program. This program, a partnership between Cecil County Public Schools and Cecil County Parks and Recreation has middle schoolers playing inner school and inter school sports after school.