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Five teams are competing in a youth step festival 6 p.m. tonight at the Williams Center for the Arts. Scheduled to last 90 minutes, the event will conclude with a reception in the lobby.

Tickets for the show are free with a Lafayette ID and will be issued at the door. For the general public, they cost $5 for adults and $3 for those 18 years old and under.

The teams come from Shiloh Baptist Church in Easton, Dieruff High School in Allentown, Broughal Middle School in Bethlehem, South Mountain Middle School in Allentown, and Whitehall Middle School.

Stepping is a lively dance form that combines feet thumping, hand clapping, and messages chanted by the performers. Rooted in the traditions of the South African boot dance, this art form was eventually adopted by black fraternities and sororities, according to Jody Frey, director of recreation services. The nation’s black Greek organizations contributed heavily to the evolution of stepping. Community groups, churches, and schools have also formed groups. These teenage performers are the ones celebrated in Lafayette’s step festival.

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