Chicago steppin is a name given to a style of ballroom type dance that has evolved over the years from various other dances, such as the Jitterbug, Swing, Offtime, Cakewalk, Bop, and Chicago Bop. Originating from Chicago's predominately African American community, the dance has morphed from its beginnings with the Jitterbug to a style that involves class, personal style, finness, and creativity.
Evolution of Chicago Step
(You better do it!)
There are many misinterpretations/misconceptions of Chicago steppin.' Steppin is not kicking your feet on a two count rythm (two step), following repeating simple instructions (line dancing), a series of turns and dips on any beat (some other dances), or bouncing while moving around the floor. Chicago style steppin, aka Chicago step, consist of two or more people dancing as partners in synchronized step to a six (6) or eight (8) count rythm. Steppin involves disciplines such as lane control, smooth movements, strides, and footwork.
Common Misconception of Chicago Steppin
(Bless their hearts!)
Steppin attire consists of forms of black tie, after seven, and modern-day "dress to impress" design compressed into a unique style of contemporary designs. This clean and classy style of dress which allows each partner to move freely is known as "Steppers Sharp." There are steppers sets (dances) that allow a more casual style called Steppers Casual.
Steppers Sharp Attire
(Now that is what we call CLEAN!)
Most steppin is done to different types of music such as Jazz, Funk, Soul, Neo Soul, R&B, and now Hip-Hop. Chicago Step is now more widely known nationwide and provides a positive and safe environment for persons to dance. Due to the popularity of songs like R. Kelly - Step in the Name of Love and Happy People, steppin' is known as the style of dance for the "grown folks." Movies such as Love Jones brought this "grown folk" dance style to the big screen. Steppers usually range but are not limited to the ages of twenty-three (23) to sixty-five (65).
R. Kelly - Step in the Name of Love
(Boy, they look goooooood!)
Now, Chicago Steppin has become popular in cities throughout the country thanks to the entertainment industry and instructors (usually from Chicago) whom teach classes in different places such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Carolinas, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Delaware, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Huntsville, Indiana, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Montgomery, New York City, Oakland, Oklahoma, Phoenix, Seattle, Tacoma, and Virginia Beach. If one invests time and effort into learning from steppin instructors, they will be able to enjoy Chicago style steppin and even compete in Chicago Steppin competitions to win cash prizes. Just watch the instructors in this video. One can dance just like them with classes and practice!
Chicago Steppin Instructors Dance Showcase (just a few)
(Yep, taught them everything they know!)
So, there is your crash course in Chicago style steppin. If you are interested and need lessons, click here for information on classes in the Washington, DC area. If you are not in the area, click here to visit our affiliate stepper sites. We hope to see you in class and then you can show the steppin community your style and "whatcha got" at our steppin events!