For some Princeton students, Dean’s Date is a campus-wide marathon of suffering; for others, it was a day for dancing on NBC’s The Today Show in Manhattan.
Millions of viewers watched the Princeton University HighSteppers, a co-ed step team at the University, stomp, slap, and shout live in Rockefeller Plaza on May 14. The team arrived in Manhattan at 5:15 a.m. and had its final rehearsal at 8:30 before beginning to shoot teasers for the live segment.
HighSteppers president Somers Fairchild ’15 called the experience “exhilarating,” noting that many of the group’s members had been eager to participate even though the event coincided with Dean’s Date. “Usually it’s kind of… I don’t want to say ‘pulling teeth,’ but it’s hard to get people to perform because people are busy all the time,” he said. “But I got flooded with emails [saying yes].”
After discovering the HighSteppers from YouTube videos of competition performances, The Today Show staff emailed the group to ask if they would perform for the show’s Varsity Week. “Of course that was a yes,” Fairchild said. After the email, which Fairchild received three weeks ago, the group began supplemental practices for their TV appearance at the same time as they were rehearsing for a guest performance at the BodyHype Dance Company spring show.
The group arrived back in Princeton at 11:30 a.m., giving some members time to continue working on their Dean’s Date papers to make the University’s 5 p.m. deadline. “I napped for an hour and tried to finish all my work,” said Fairchild, who turned his final paper in at 4:58.