Four Teams. One Trophy.
On the night of April 10th, the Gray, White, Black, and Gold teams battled for first place at the annual, “Train Like an Alpha” event in the Mendelssohn Theatre in the Michigan League.
Flashing lights, Old Town Road and whistles echoed the theatre, and the energy of the crowd matched that of the four teams who danced to the coordinated routines of current members of the fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha.
For their annual event, the historically Black fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha holds campus-wide tryouts for girls who want to try their hand at some of the fraternity’s dances and step routines for the grand prize. Each routine has a specific theme or reference, and their uniqueness and technique is judged by a panel to determine the grand winner.
The Gray Team started the night off with an “Indiana Jones”-esque adventure theme, decked out in gray tank tops, green cargo pants, and black utility belts –– and their energy was definitely felt by the audience. The girls were on a mission to find the “golden whistle” before it fell into the wrong hands. With a routine full of clean moves and gymnastics feats, the night was off to a good start.
However, the following two teams still held their ground pretty well. The White team had a sporty workout theme with all of the dancers clad in workout bras and joggers. Their clever routine started with a nod to the Everest college commercial that was familiar to the Michigan natives who grew up seeing it on their TV. The routine itself was comical in its execution and definitely caught the attention of the audience.
Next was the Black Team. Dressed in black unitards with black and gold accent pieces, they channeled the energy of the character Katana from the video game Mortal Kombat in an action packed fight theme routine. The routine stayed true to the theme of the game and their steps were sharply executed.
All the teams kept their routines lighthearted and fun by adding in voiceover moments where they’d stop and narrate on the action. They also involved the brothers of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity as characters in their skits between the dance moves. In between the performances, the energy was kept high by the light hearted MCs who made playful jabs at the competition and themselves. Audience members also got a chance to be involved in the fun through trivia contests, lottery drawings, and a riveting competition to see who could hold the fraternity’s hand sign the longest without falling.
Last but certainly not least, was the Gold team. They ended the night with a high-energy performance that used vibrant colors and creative stage lighting to execute their routine. With a nightclub theme, they certainly brought energy that the audience could feel the confidence of the performers with every stomp and clap that lined their performance.
In the end, the judges seemed to really admire the Gold team’s ingenuity, as they were named the winners of the competition. Each member received a gold medal and took a picture with the giant trophy that was awarded to them as a result of their performance. After pictures were taken, the fraternity members joined all the team members on stage to dance to the organization’s go-to stroll song, “Wipe Me Down.”
Even though the Gold team won, it’s safe to say that all of the dancers still had fun. According to School of Information sophomore Leila Akan, a dancer on the Black Team, the best part of the competition was getting to know and work with everyone on her team. “Our practices were a lot of long late nights, but in the end everyone pulled off a great show and I’m extremely proud of them.”
The “Train Like an Alpha” Event was definitely a night to remember. The competition succeeded in making an evening of excitement and energy on a Wednesday evening for Black students. Even though this was only the second annual event, it’s easy to see that it will continue for years to come.