Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chicago Steppin' (Information & Dance Videos)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a two part post on Chicago steppin'. This post provides information about Chicago stepping and showcases nine videos of that dance form.

Part II features nine songs that are played for Chicago stepping. Click for Part II.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners

"What is Stepping?
Stepping is an urban, partnered dance art form that is indigenous to Chicago, Illinois. Steppin’ should not be confused with fraternity and sorority Greek stepping which is very popular on college and university campuses throughout the country.

What are some of the teaching methods of stepping?
For instructional purposes, counting methods (generally 6-count or 8-count) are used to teach synchronized movements during which times partners clasp hands and face each other. Steppin’ is done to smooth sounds of Jazz, Soul, Funk, R&B, or Rap music."...
"A Brief History of Steppin'
Steppin' originated in the 1930's as the Jitterbug. By the 1960's it was known as the Bop, which evolved into a unique style of its own called Steppin' – in the city of Chicago. Steppin' developed a phenomenal era of its own; it is not just a dance but the addictive aura of music, smooth moves, stylish dress (reminiscent of the 1920s) and the mood of a by-gone era. Steppin’ is truly a hypnotic work of art and captivates people of all ages and ethnic groups. As the saying goes: “Steppin' is a way of life.”

The suave rhythm of this dance which incorporates gliding, striding and dipping your partner during the 1950's and 1960's eras, to the popular music of young groups – such as the Temptations and other R&B artists – filtrated the African-American community across the United States. From the fashionable clubs (Peps in Philadelphia, Savoy in Chicago, and now at JT's Bourbon St. in Rockford, IL etc.) to the juke joints (speakeasys), Steppin’ – in the guise of the Jitterbug and the Bop – took root and found acceptance in both Black and White communities.

After the fall of the popular Disco era, the Bop was rejuvenated and became known as Steppin'. The emergence of Steppin’ contests and Steppin' Balls became popular, along with music seemingly reserved for Steppin’. Steppin' swept the nation as a dance that not only depended upon smooth moves and creativity but high fashion (chic dress by both the male and female steppers) to complete its ambiance. Steppin' is as much a part of the African-American community's culture and history as is its music from the early days of Jazz, and Rhythm ‘n Blues up to the current style of Soul and Rap music."...

(These videos are presented in chronological order based on the date of their YouTube posting, with the oldest dated videos posted first.)

Example #1: SHAKEDOWN/Stepper video

Quicksilver Cooley, Uploaded on Sep 26, 2006
Steve Butler and DJ Soulfather Cooley bring to you the Shakedown line with some of the windy city steppers. produced by Steve Butler video directed & edited by DJ Soulfather Cooley...

Example #2: * Expanded * How to Step - Chicago Style

Uploaded on Mar 27, 2007 -Presented by the Stepper's Network(R)- Fundamentals of Chicago Style Stepping: Basic steps, half turn, full turn are demonstrated.
Here's a guestion and its response from this video's viewer comment thread:
"do the women and the men start off with the left foot? With the Kansas City 2 step the men start off with the left and the women with their right foot."
-TheRed1955, 2010

"what you say about about the KC 2-step is the "normal" dance convention of mirrored partner dances. The only dance I have done that does not follow it is Argentine tango and Chicago-style stepping. Stepping in Chicago is generally taught Left for follower & right for leader. But, if you dance the way it is shown it will not make a difference! I learned a mirrored stepping originally using conventional starting foot. But, somehow it changed in Chicago. Why???"
-bbstepper, 2010

Example #3: Chicago Style Steppin Atlanta (Steppin Music)

Kenneth Hartfield, Uploaded on Jul 7, 2009

4th of July at Mishons mid-day set. Chicago Steppin around Atlanta [Georgia]...
Here's a comment from this video's viewer comment thread:
"Haters are everywhere. Some folks forget that the world doesn't revolve around them. Different strokes for different folks I say. I like all styles of steppin' (walking, the creativity of freestyle, old school, new school and the smoothe stuff depicted in this video) but it is the smoothe style that says, "for this dance you are mine and I love the way 'you' make me feel", that this video represents (the likes of Ron Brown & Victor James) that I choose to focus on"
-MrPapasam21, 2012

Example #4: Chicago's V103 STEPPERS CONTEST, "To The Left, To The Right" performed by Carlos Cannon

Carlos Cannon, Uploaded on Apr 7, 2010

Chicago's Hottest Steppers' contest celebrating Carlos Cannon smash hit single, "To The Left,To The Right." From the,"Steppin' Up The Game," album...

Example #5: The Real Chicago Steppers

La Tanya Morris, Uploaded on May 27, 2010

Example #6: Original Steppers Competition From Chicago's Largest 2010

StepperDJ, Uploaded on Apr 13, 2011

This is video I shot from the 2010 Chicago's Largest Steppers Contest held at the Burbank Manor. Steppers battled it out on the dance floor in the original category. The audience judged the contest and some people got paid for their efforts. Visit SteppersUSA.Com for steppers events listings, Classes & workshops and more.
In response to the question which couple won, a commenter wrote “Ty and Celeste”.

Example #7: StepChi Steppin in Chicago presents end of night fun VIP Prod. Set 06/11/11

Hadiyah Al-Sudan, Uploaded on Jun 12, 2011

Steppin Chicago Stepping

Example #8: Steppers: Winning Performances Cadillac Presents 21st Annual Steppers Contest


sixbrownchicks, Uploaded on Sep 18, 2011

Cadillac presented the 21st Annual World's Largest Steppers Contest recently in Tinley Park, Illinois. This year's winners were judged in several categories, including routines and creativity. Special thanks to Yanni Brown, and organizers Pete Frazier, Terrance Pratt and Andre Blackwell.

Example #9: Victor James & Nicola Thomas Steppin Again

tmac53088, Published on Dec 23, 2012

This fun video was recorded for entertainment purposes only. Thanks for the love you've shown us with the video "My Love Is True". Here's one more video created just for you...enjoy!

Click this page of my cultural blog for videos of fraternity & sorority steppin':

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks to the featured dancers. Thanks also to the producers of these videos and to their YouTube publishers.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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