Get ready Westmont. The one and only student-run hip-hop dance crew is back. NSTEP, which stands for “In Showing the Expression of Praise”, has been a club at Westmont for 22 years. This past Friday, September 6th, they kicked off the school year with tryouts to find new team members. This year, they are officially welcoming eight new dancers, consisting of three fourth-years and five first-years, to form this semester’s intimate family of nineteen.
The weekend consisted of jam-packed days learning dance routines, followed by more intricate steps in order to test their musicality abilities. Contrary to prior years, NSTEP had a smaller turnout this year, which may be due to it being on the same weekend as First-Year Retreat and Orchestra Retreat. Senior Co-Leader Ray Nakamoto said, “This weekend brought out really dedicated people who were all interested in dancing. Everyone got the choreography, and in the end they all made it very hard in choosing the new recruits.”
Lizzy Green, a fourth-year and a new dancer on the team, said, “I was a little nervous about performing the dance in front of the team but then I just remembered that I’m dancing because I enjoy it, which took off most of the pressure!”
Nakamoto mentioned that this year NSTEP is newly focused on getting to know one another. “By trying to manage our time better, and not rush through practices, we want to use our time to be more intentional with each other and with God,” said Nakamoto.
Renee Chan, returning fourth-year dancer, added on by saying, “[NSTEP] wants to create an atmosphere for everyone to feel loved and accepted for who they are. To find a family within this new team of dancers.”
Junior Co-Leader Noah Argao said, “I am super excited to bond more as a team. We strive to move together as a unit and a big part of doing that is getting to know each other as individuals offstage.” That started this past Sunday at the annual initiation picnic so that old members could start forming close bonds with the newcomers.
Green said, “It was funny because all the new members are either first-year or fourth-years with no in-between so you really had the two dynamics of ‘I’m starting to find my place’ and ‘this is my last chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do.’”
In looking back on this weekend, Laura Acevedo, returning fourth-year dancer, said, “This weekend was so fun! It never gets old watching people with a passion for dance do their thing. Each person who auditioned, regardless of whether they made the team or not, brought so much love and energy to the auditions.”
Chan said, “I’m really excited to see how the Lord uses dance to set people free.” Galatians 5:25 says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep iN STEP with the Spirit.” For 22 years NSTEP has looked to provide Westmont students with the opportunity to praise God through the expression of dance, and will continue to do so for years to come.