A new competition featuring synchronized dancing will take place Friday night as a way to strengthen ties between traditional Greek sororities and the historically black and Hispanic Greeks.
The first Panhellenic Strolloff will involve six competing sororities- Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Delta Pi, Delta Phi Epsilon, Delta Gamma, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Zeta Tau Alpha.
Hosted by the fraternity Sigma Lambda Beta, the event will take place Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Rathskeller.
“We decided to have this event as a way to bring organizations together that don’t usually come together,” said Luis Sierra, vice president of programming and chair of the strolloff. “We thought it was something good and something else to foster the Greek community.”
The University of Florida has successfully put on this event for the past two years and now the Betas at UM are planning on making this an annual event.
Strolling is a ritualistic type of dance in which members perform a synchronized dance typically in a straight line of four to eight members.
There are many versions of how strolling originated, one of which dates back to the slave era in America. When slaves would attempt to escape, they would form a single file line, each person stepping into the exact footprint of the person ahead, so it would appear as if only one slave had escaped.
Strolling was introduced to colleges by black Greek organizations in the early 20th century.
Today it is often referred to as “party walking” because of the forward movement through a club, with members performing the same dance moves in a line with a lot of repetition. The moves are very deliberate with high energy.
This form of dance carries a sense of pride among the black and Hispanic Greek community. By teaching the historically white sororities to stroll, the Betas are teaching them about their past while enabling them to take part in their future.
“It is a medium to bring people together in a social environment,” said Miguel Velasco, vice president of communications for Beta. “If the girls see other fraternities or sororities stepping or strolling in the UC breezeway, they can plug in their iPod and join in. It’s a good way to promote relationships with other Greeks and just get out there and have fun.”
Unity is stressed among the Greek community; however, it is not often that members of sororities and fraternities get involved outside of their council. UM has four different councils, each fraternity and sorority belonging to one.
The Interfraternity Council (IFC) has 13 members, six of which have houses on campus; the Multiethnic Greek Council (MGC) has three fraternities and two sororities; the National Panhellenic Council, Inc. (NPHC) has four sororities and four fraternities each that are rooted in African-American culture; and the Panhellenic Association consists of seven sororities which all have suites in the Panhellenic Building.
“We hope to bring members of different councils together through this experience,” Sierra said. “People don’t think that mainstream and minority Greeks have a lot in common, but we’re all Greek.”
Admission fees are $10 per person participating in the stroll, with four to eight people per team. Attendees can get in for free.
All of the money that will be earned, through admissions fees as well as donations, will be donated to the winning sorority’s philanthropy. The Betas hope to raise $500 and bring awareness to the different causes that each sorority supports.
Judges of this event are still being finalized and will be announced in the beginning of the week.
The sororities of the Panhellenic Association are very excited about participating in the strolloff and have been practicing for the past two weeks in preparation.
Each sorority will have a maximum of five minutes to stroll, with no limit on the number of songs they can use.
“We’re going to come up with new and unique ways to collaborate in the future,” said Steven Sainvil, vice president of finance for Beta. “This is the first of many great things to come.”
Rebecca Zimmer may be contacted at email@example.com.