Unexpected Step Team!
The Unexpected Step Team
After viewing one of their competition videos on YouTube.com, producers of
America's Got Talent invited
Binghamton's own Unexpected Step Team to audition for the television show.
The award-winning squad, run through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Binghamton,
for season four of NBC’s summer reality competition series,
judged by David Hasselhoff, Sharon Osbourne, and Piers Morgan,
and appeared on the show June 23, 2009!
Founded in 2006, the Unexpected Step Team is an after school program at the Club and includes 24 members and four coaches. They have performed in numerous competitions, parades, and arts showcases, as well as for government dignitaries.
What is stepping?
Stepping is a fusion of
African and African American music and dance traditions that incorporate high-energy cheerleading, acrobatics, gymnastics, and drill team moves. Rhymes or chants
are sometimes spoken over the dance as well. These aspects are not only
important to the energy of stepping for entertainment use but also for bonding
and pride within the organizations performing step. It is performance art
that combines dance with music and show. Stepping always involves clapping and
stomping, sometimes done at the same time. It is similar to tap in that the
steppers use their bodies to make the rhythms, as opposed to using
musical instruments to produce sounds, beats and rhythms. It consists of
elaborate synchronized group routines that are usually performed in
Founding of the Unexpected Step Team
The team was founded in early spring
2006 at the Saratoga Gym in Binghamton, NY. The step team originally consisted
of 10 girls and one coach but has quickly expanded to 22 girls, two boys, and four coaches.
The group exhibits teamwork and dedication and serves as an example for
all youth to follow. Each member of the team is required to maintain at least
an 80 average in school or be actively enrolled in a certified tutoring
program. The coaching staff works with members' parents, teachers, and community
members to ensure that the team represents themselves in the most positive
light possible. The Unexpected has given these young people a voice, allowing
them to express themselves through chants and rhythmic dance. It has also
allowed them to form lifelong friendships and more importantly supportive
relationships with adults.
team decided to name themselves "Unexpected” for two reasons: 1) Because no one would know what to expect once they took the stage and 2) many
of the children felt that little was expected of them as performers. Today, as an award-winning and nationally-known team, they wear that name as a badge of honor because they have taught us all
to expect the unexpected.
Becoming a Team Member
Any child interested in becoming a member of the Unexpected Step Team must audition. Auditions are held
quarterly and will be advertised via this website and in the local community. During auditions, the participants
will spend 20 minutes learning a moderately difficult step that they will be
asked to perform in front of the entire team and coaching staff.
Although the team will
privately vote on the prospective members, the final decision will be made by
the coaches. After making the team, all new members are expected to spend the next two months in intensive training. The
team has already choreographed two complete shows and new members are given a two-month trial period to learn most if not all of these steps.