Lancer Spotlight 1/9/23: Linganore’s first ever STEP team aims to bring culture and diversity to the school


(Patricia Kolias)

The STEP team meets twice a week to practice their routines. (Photographed from left to right Oluwaseun Awofisayo, Oluwaseyi Awsofisayo, Mona Michelle Mensah, Mickinley Howard, Legend Campbell, and Liya Mantey.)

by Alexa Waser, Editor

Linganore High School (LHS) just added a STEP team to the club rotation this year and hopes to share and expand the culture throughout the school. 

STEP is a style of dance that was developed by African-American fraternities and sororities in southern states. 

Junior Temilade Daramola originally approached Assistant Principal Raeda Zietoon who then approached English teacher Patricia Kolias with the idea of a cultural dance club, featuring many different dance styles from different backgrounds. This idea then transitioned into the creation of a STEP team.

It was determined the inclusion of many different backgrounds in one club would be difficult. Since STEP is made up of a few different cultural aspects and many of the members initially expressed specific interest in it, the decision was made for the club to become a STEP team. 

“American STEP dancing is a derivative of many different types of dance that have evolved as they were introduced in the United States. There are aspects that came from Afro-Caribbean dancing and different parts of Africa. And then, as they [these dance forms] came to the United States, they took the form of modern-day STEP,” said Kolias. 

Soon, additional staff were brought on board to guide and coach the team. Co-Advisor Adrienne Lee was added to the staff because she had more knowledge and experience with STEP. Lee has friends who did STEP at Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs).

Finally, Sheri Smith and Lynette Turner-Helm, current parents of students on the STEP team joined as coaches. Both took part in STEP or cheer during their college years and brought additional experience. 

The deep cultural roots and expression behind STEP is something that is really important to those who participate. Kolias explained how STEP is more than just dance. It involves conveying a message through sound, dance, voice, and can even have a skit incorporated in order to communicate the message the team wants to get across. 

“We, as Black women, just need a way to express ourselves and our culture in the school,” said Daramola.  

With an intention of exposing the school to more diverse cultures, the STEP team has been welcomed by other teams and clubs with open arms, making the team hopeful and excited to further showcase their talents. 

“We would like to showcase this culture as a part of LHS and to showcase the art to the student body and the staff here at Linganore. [This is] in an effort to make [Linganore] a more culturally diverse building, as our population is changing due to redistricting and an influx of new students [from other local regions],” said Kolias. 

The team’s future plans consist of performing in February for Black History Month, at the Theatre schools and for the Linganore student body at Pep assemblies and games.