Empowering Women Club Promotes the Art Form of Step Dancing


SHS Soles of Rhythm performed during this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration in the PAC

Leah Sullivan, Contributing Writer

Led by SHS sophomore Akheerah Rahman, a group of students recently started a new Empowering Women Club. The group originally tried to organize when they were in middle school, as one of their goals is to bring people together in a safe and supportive setting. With assistance from METCO coordinator MarKaveus Barnes and SHS history teacher Heather Willinger, they successfully created a club that turned their idea into a reality. Ultimately, the group members want to widen the variety of clubs at SHS and help more people feel welcome in the community. 

 A leading factor in starting the Empowering Women Club was a shared interest in step dancing, which is also known as soul stepping. This dance style originated in the mid-20th century and was first performed by African American college fraternities and sororities. Today, step dancing is still popular among Greek organizations, and it is practiced worldwide. The footwork and limb movements of step dancing are highly energetic and very unique. Dancers use their bodies as an instrument to make claps and footsteps; spoken words are used to create a rhythm.

The SHS step dancing team calls itself the “Soles of Rhythm,” symbolizing how step dancing brings them together as they develop their own rhythm. The club meets every Monday after school from 3:45 to 6:00 p.m. At these practices, members learn new step routines, which can be originated from club members.

Soles of Rhythm had their first performance on January 16th during the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial event held in the Performing Arts Center. In the future, they hope to perform at various events, including sports games and other school-sponsored activities. In particular, they would like to present educational performances at elementary schools and teach students about the goals of their club.

Soles of Rhythm would like to perform on Juneteenth (June 19th) to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Through the art form of step dancing, they want to encourage others and empower people beyond the SHS community.