Steppers demonstrate the art of "stepping", a dance form that combines elements of military drills with contemporary jazz and hip-hop. In stepping, the body takes the place of the drum: by clapping, slapping the hands against various parts of the body, or stomping the feet that produce the complex rhythmic foundation for the dance. Stepping also features complex synchronized body movements, along with singing, chanting, and verbal play.
The dance is rooted in African dance and the rhythm is provided by musicians playing percussion instruments, by singers or by a combination of music and song. It is often presented by a call and response patterning, adding to the precision and synchronicity of drill and step performances. Although the tradition is often defined as African American, participation in CSS Drill Team is not limited to young people of African American ancestry.
Training is part of an after school program held at the Camden Water Tower or at scheduled rehearsal sites. Each performance usually has a principal purpose, which may express or reflect the communal values and social relationships of our community/culture. In order to distinguish between the varieties of dance styles, it is necessary to establish the purpose for which each dance is performed, whether it’s a competition or a social performance.
If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.