One Step Off Forward, Two Back

Did a group of white girls break a color boundary by winning last month's Sprite Step Off competition? Or was it just another controversial case of African-American culture getting ripped off once again by the dancing equivalents of Vanilla Ice?

Zeta Tau Alpha’s Epsilon Chapter of the University of Arkansas were the surprise victors of the February 20 finals. The ZTAs were awarded $100,000 for winning and happened to have been featured in MTV2's "Sprite Step Off" docu-series. And judging from the video below, the crowd seemed to loooove them. But in a truly weird turnaround, Sprite recalibrated the top two teams' scores and awarded another $100,000 to the second-place TAU Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority from Indiana University – one of the "Divine Nine" black sororities known for their stepping prowess.

United States stepping originated in the "gumboot" dances performed by late-19th-century South African mine workers who, forbidden to talk while working, communicated through tapping out their tribal rhythms with their feet. On Sunday, their only day off, workers would also dance in their work boots.

You've come a long way, babies – I guess. Obviously inspired by the Divine Nine, the Zetas allegedly lost their first place exclusivity by including sexy gyrations prohibited in stepping performances. The TAUs, on the other hand, appear to have adopted the Arkansans ironed hairstyle. Hey, we're all biracial now!

Compare and contrast after the jump: