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Tufts University's Blackout Step Team Wins UPSTAGED 1: STEP AND THE CITY

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Tufts University's Blackout Step Team Wins UPSTAGED 1: STEP AND THE CITY

On Saturday, February 8, 2020 at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, the Tufts University BlackOut Step Team defeated top ranked collegiate step teams to win UpStaged Scholastic Productions' UpStaged 1: Step and the City National Collegiate Performing Arts Association (NCPA) Step Championship.

The highly ranked team from Tufts was favored for the UpStaged New England Title and noted as top contenders for the overall NCPA title and Top 6 NCPA College Step All-American recognition. The team lived up to the hype, through three competition rounds, winning the New England Region against Yale University and Merrimack College, their semifinal with Emory University, and a dramatic Step-off finale against Buffalo State College.

In addition to Tufts, the Top 6 NCPA Step All-American recognition went to Buffalo State, St. John's University, Lincoln University, Emory, and Mercy College. The UpStaged Independent Championship was shared by Emory and Lincoln. St. John's finished second behind Buffalo State in the UpStaged New York Championship. Following Tufts, Yale took second place in the Upstaged New England Championships.

In the UpStaged National High School Performing Arts (NHSPA) "Battle of the Boroughs" championship between top local teams, the Evander Childs High School Prestige Steppers from The Bronx faced off against the A-List step team from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan in a hotly contested match, and took home the title and mayor's recognition.

In addition to the championships, two coveted special prizes were awarded. The first, as part of the first round Social Cause step performance theme, was given to Temple's Ladies of Elegance team. Emory's Ngambiza was awarded the UpStaged MLK Sportsmanship Award, for balancing an intense competitive spirit with honoring their opponents.

The evening's festivities opened with a spectacular National Anthem by Broadway star N'Kenge ("The Moon" in the upcoming Caroline, or Change), and culminated with all ten collegiate and two high school teams on the stage during N'Kenge's rendition of "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" in honor of Black History Month and UpStaged's "Competing with Honor" motto.

Event Co-MC's, Johnathan Lee Iverson (Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Ringmaster) and . (Kushy from "Growing up Hip Hop") managed and refereed the athletic competition aspects including team captains meeting center stage for a handshake and coin flip determining order, mano a mano rounds, and later, the decision and congratulatory handshake line.

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