Washington, DC, August 12, 2013— Gamma Xi Phi, the professional fraternity for artists, has selected professional dancer and stepper Christopher Brient as an honorary member of the organization. His initiation was conducted on Saturday, August 10, 2013.
Christopher Brient joined Step Afrika! in 2009 and has been in the company ever since. Step Afrika! is the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping, an African American percussive dance form intertwining hand claps and foot stomps with songs, chants, and spoken word.
Prior to joining Step Afrika!, Brother Brient spent two seasons with Team NRG, which is the dance team for the Houston Comets (WNBA). He also was a member of G Force, the step team for the Houston Rockets (NBA).
At Texas A&M University, Brother Brient cultivated his love of dance as a teacher of hip-hop dance classes and as step master for the Pi Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. His love of stepping goes back prior to his days as an Alpha, however: He performed in his first step show while a ninth grader in Houston, Texas.
“All I’m doing is what I enjoy and I just so happen to call it ‘work’ and get paid for it. Just by doing that, I’ve been extended the honor of being part of [Gamma Xi Phi],” Brother Brient said in his own announcement on social media.
National Executive Director Rashid Darden spoke to the brothers and sisters who assembled for Brient’s initiation, saying “Yes, he was selected to join this fraternity because of his accomplishments in the field of dance, but far more important is his solidarity with the community. From the youngest students in urban camps here in DC, to the most seasoned diplomats in Morocco, Brother Brient is well-known for his ability to connect with an audience and inspire a love for his craft.”
“The ceremony was great,” the newest honorary initiate said, happy to share his reflections on the ceremony. “The biggest thing that I can take from it is that it made sense. I learned some stuff that I’m going to use in my everyday life.”
When asked where he saw the fraternity heading in the next decade or so, he remarked “I want it to grow. I want people to understand that it’s not one of those fly-by-night organizations that people just make up and throw some letters on. There’s thought put into it: the process, the ritual, everything. It’s going to be here, it’s going to stay here, and it’s only going to grow. And I’m excited to be part of it.”
Gamma Xi Phi was founded on October 7, 2010, by Ramapo College men and women who were interested in creating strong bonds between students pursuing artistic careers. The purpose of the fraternity is to unite collegiate and professional artists in the spirit of fellowship and perpetual artistic growth. Gamma Xi Phi promotes philanthropy and service to the arts, brotherhood among all artists, and leadership development in artistic professions through collegiate and community outreach to people of color across the world.