UkSteppersNetwork - Bringing the style and sophistication back to dancing!

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UKSteppersNetwork -

The UKSteppersNetwork aims to bring the style and sophistication back into dancing. Our mission is to introduce a new social form of dance called Chicago Step (Steppin) to the rnb, hip-hop and urban soul scene in the UK.

What is Chicago Step? -

In Chicago, it is said, “that as a child, you learn to crawl, walk, then step”

Steppin is a dance form indigenous to the black neighbourhoods of Chicago; it is a derivative of the Jitterbug and the Bop.  Folk in Chicago have been Steppin for over 40 years.

Steppers have their own style of dress. The men's attire has the feel of Ragtime 2000, with long suit coats, baggy trousers, hats, and ties in splashy colours. A Stepping man will often have a matching handkerchief that he works with to mop his brow as he spins his girl. The women's attire consists of at least three-inch heels to accentuate her legs and a dress in a colour to match her partner's outfit, fitted around the hips with just the right amount of length and flare to add dazzle to her turns. And note: the women never wear hats, but they do have their hair styled to match the Steppin' attire and attitude. This is not done every time, but people do go all-out when dressing for a Stepper's Ball.

Steppin is 'The Jazz of Ballroom Dancing. For those who would like to learn a dance similar to Salsa, but prefer the groves of Bobby Valintino, Dwele, Peven Everet, Jill Scott, Angie stone, R Kelley (Step in the Name of Love and Happy People) then Steppin is for you.

Steppers dance smooth jazz, soul, funk, r&b, urban soul, rare groves and a dash of Hip-hop.  R Kelley's video “Step in the Name of Love” is an example of Steppin, with couples spinning and dipping. Watch the dancers in the background!

Why Chicago Step? -

I am a father of two and a school governor; I was disappointed in December 2004 to see 2 girls aged 8 (same age as my daughter) booty shaking at the kids’ school disco. To make things worse, the little boys were standing around them in a circle watching and jostling for ringside positions. It was at this time I truly realised that the MTV-Base culture had woven itself into our cultural fabric; I am determined to do something about it.

The imagery portrayed in music videos is etching itself on to the minds of our young children; our youth are so impressionable. What are we telling them….are we telling them that it ok to do the 'booty flick'……are we telling them that there is no differentiation between sex and dance……..are we encouraging them to follow…..or am I seeing something that is not actually a problem; if so call me prudish.

As our boys grow into men and our girls into women, what will be their values and expectations?

I frequently tell my daughter “you don’t have to dance like that to be a good dancer”

I frequently tell my little boy (aged 6) ”if you see girls dancing like that...then it’s not respectable”.

Many parents that I have spoken to seem engaged (covertly) in fighting the same war. It is common to hear “My kids are not allowed to watch MTVBase”, “I have banned MTVBase from our house”, “My kids can only watch MTVBase when I am supervising them”.

It is for these reasons that I have decide to hold Steppin lesson at Leopold School (Hawkshead Road, NW10). I will work with the pupils, parents and the community to create a cultural revolution. Please come along with your partner, friends, brother, sister, mum, dad, kids....Dancing can be fun.

If you would like to know more about Chicago Steppin in the UK please contact me or register to recieve a Newsletter

Canute Simpson

07956 877 655