April 17, 2014

'Greek Freak' dance competition is April 18

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Historically black, Latin-based and Asian-interest fraternities and sororities from Cornell and the surrounding region will participate in the Greek Freak 2014 performance/competition Friday, April 18, at Ithaca’s State Theatre.

The event is sponsored by Cornell’s Multicultural Greek Letter Council (MGLC). Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets at $7 for all ages are available at the box office. Proceeds benefit the Greater Ithaca Activities Center.

The exhibition and competition features three performance forms: stepping, in which performers use their entire bodies to create rhythms and tell stories; saluting, in which performers use poetry, hand gestures and other verbal and physical forms of expression to recite historical tales; and strolling, which combines forms of stepping and saluting into a powerful dance typically accompanied by music.

“The performances have deep historical and cultural significance,” said Jason Allen, assistant dean of students in the Office of Fraternities, Sororities and Independent Living.

Stepping, Allen explained, is traced to African culture when the body was used to make sounds as a form of communication when working in mines. Stepping and strolling may date back to African slavery, when slaves used synchronized movements and sounds to pass information and time. The performances pay homage to the founding members of the fraternities and sororities, and incorporate important historical information, hand signs and movements.

“The MGLC students take great pride in their performances and are quite excited to share them with the Cornell and Ithaca community,” Allen said. “The evening will be filled with great passion and energy.”

In addition to MGLC chapters from the surrounding region, including New York City, graduate and alumni chapter members will perform, and other culturally based dance groups outside the Greek system have been invited to showcase their art this year.