Blu Knightz: Take a ‘Step’ in Our Shoes

Cameron Thomas, Copy Editor

Last week, the MSMS male step team, the Blu Knightz, prepared for their first show of the year. Being a member of the team, allow me to take you on our journey in preparing for the show.

Weekly Practices

Our first practice was in late August, and it was rather eventful. Unlike our sister step team, the Blu Diamondz, we did not have to have a tryout due to the limited amount of male students here interested in stepping. We learned “Boom Boom,” a transition that is named by its sound, and our signature Turn-Up Stroll to Juvenile’s “Back That Thang Up.”

Throughout our practices in the rest of August and September, we learned two more transitions, two more strolls and the stand up step.We lost a couple of members along the way, primarily because its not at the top of everyone’s priority list, but most of us who stayed used the time to escape the treacherous academic environment.

As October approached, we had to tackle the AP Chemistry of steps, the chair step. When the veteran members showed it to us, I was mesmerized and horrified by the complexity of it. Regardless of how intimidating it looked at first, we took a seat and started to learn it step by step not realizing how repetitive it was. By the next week, we were were executing it like it was nothing.

Step Show Preparation

After everyone had the chair step perfected, we knew it was past time to start preparing for the show. We were told that it had to be within 10-15 minutes and that it had to have a theme.We all sat in a circle and brainstormed our ideas for the show. We decided to do our own remixed rendition of Nightmare on Elm Street since the show was close to Halloween.

Until the script was written, we practiced on memorization, being in sync and making our movements sharp. As time passed, I began to worry about whether our show was going to be prepared or not.

Finally, our president, Ezra McWilliams, sent an email to the group informing us that we would have practice everyday of the week, including Sunday night. That Sunday, we were given the scripts and tried to gain an understanding of what was happening.

We were able to do an entire run-through of the show Wednesday to make sure that we were in the correct time range. We made a couple of last minute changes, and we finally had the finished lay out of the show.

We booked Rent Auditorium Thursday and Friday evening, so we could work on spacing, stage directions and costume changes. Even though we did get a lot accomplished, a couple of our seniors were not able to make it to practices.

However, the day of the competition, Saturday October 27, we had a last minute practice to make sure everyone was on the right page. Then, we headed to Rent with our masks for the show in one hand and our hopes for a win in the other.

The Competition

When we entered the building, step and dance teams from all over North Mississippi were swarming in and out of the auditorium doors. We took a seat and discussed the last minute game plan.

After much deliberation, our sponsor, Mr. Hansel Jackson, informed us that we were the second act going on stage, making us the first team to perform in the step category. “No one wanted to go first, so that must’ve meant they weren’t prepared,” he said. “I told them that my boys aren’t scared.”

It made me a bit skeptical at first, but thinking back on how well we did on the practice before and how creative and comedic our skit was, I was reassured.

We watched the first team in the dance category as they performed from backstage. They were poetry in motion. As their performance was coming to an end, we rushed to our places and made sure everything was where it was supposed to be. The curtains opened, and we entered the stage with a ripple transition and our masks on our face.

Our Performance

We started the performance off by announcing how we were going to induct the main character, Niamke Buchanan, into the evil society. We then exited the stage, and Buchanan entered and laid down with a pillow and blanket pretending he was asleep. We came back on the stage singing our own version of “1, 2 Freddy’s Coming For You,” and then instantaneously broke into out stand up step.

Once he was awake, his friends convinced him to go to a party instead of sleeping in on Halloween. He agreed, and in the next scene, we entered dancing to “I’m Lit” by Poppa Hussein, which was apparently the crowd’s favorite scene due to their reaction. A couple of scenes later, we slid the chairs onto the stage in order to do the chair step scene.

After the chairs were properly lined, the leaders of the society entered doing one of the transitions repetitively going increasingly faster each time. As they took their seats, they said, “3…2…1…Step!” We all burst into step.

I personally do not know how we did on it because my mask blocked my peripheral vision, but the crowd seemed to enjoy it. Afterwards, he was inducted to the society by joining us in the Turn-Up stroll. The performance ended.

The Results

When we sat back in our seats and watched the other performances, we noticed that none of the other teams had a skit. In fact, one of the Kappa League teams did not even step. I was thinking that this could be a really good thing or a really bad thing for us.

After all of the teams had performed, they announced the winners:

3rd Place: Not us

2nd Place: Not us either

1st Place: Most definitely not us

Turns out, we did not need the elaborate skit, and instead of working on a story line all week, we could have just jammed all of our steps, transitions and strolls together and would have had a better chance of placing.

***

Even though we weren’t victorious, I believe this was a great learning experience, and we’re going to take it and move forward. After all, Ralph Waldo Emerson so wisely stated, “It’s not the destination; It’s the journey.”

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