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BlackOut wins top prize at annual Williams step competition

Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 08:02


Courtesy Jeneeta Howe

BlackOut earned the first place award at the annual Steady Steppin’ Forward Step Competition, hosted by Williams College, this past weekend.


All-male step team BlackOut took home first place at Williams College’s annual Steady Steppin’ Forward Step Competition this Saturday.

The victory follows the team’s second-place finish at last year’s show, according to BlackOut co-captain Drew Nuñez-Bibby. The team has garnered a total of five wins in the past eight years performing at Williams.

“I’m definitely pleased with the group’s overall performance,” BlackOut co-captain Groom Dinkneh said. “We gave them the best we could possibly offer, and the crowd really enjoyed it.”

The competition pitted BlackOut against teams from four other northeastern schools, including Siena College, the University at Albany-SUNY, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and State University of New York at New Paltz. A panel of judges affiliated with Williams graded the performances, Nuñez-Bibby, a senior, said.

“This is the only show that we definitely do every year, and it’s almost become a staple of the BlackOut experience,” he said. “It’s big in that it’s almost traditional.”

BlackOut put on a 10-minute show consisting of about six short skits that drew from both old and new material, Nuñez-Bibby said.

“Rarely is perfection reached, so coming up with new stuff is always very time consuming, but revamping old stuff is always fun and a little bit more manageable,” he said.

The team even performed skits based on the “Harlem Shake” craze and a commercial from the Super Bowl, Dinkneh, a senior, added.

“We try to incorporate everyday things that you see and things that people can associate with in our skits,” he said.

Nuñez-Bibby added that after a tryout session in which 10 out of 18 BlackOut members were selected to perform, the team entered a one-week period of intensive rehearsals in preparation for the competition.

“For big shows, where we can get a trophy or money, anything like that, you have to earn your spot on that stage,” he said.

Nuñez-Bibby explained that since this was his last year taking the stage at Williams, he set several personal and team goals going into the performance.

“As the week of preparation went on, things started falling into place a lot better, and so that was exciting to see,” he said.

BlackOut’s hard work culminated in overwhelmingly positive feedback from the other contestants, according to Bibby.

“Bringing home first was great because teams we had beat out — teams who had beat us before — all came up to us and said, ‘I’m not even mad that you won first place. You deserved it,’” he said. “To get that kind of feedback from your competitors is very gratifying and humbling ... It feels great whether you’re an incoming freshman or an outgoing senior.”

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