1-7-2015 Steppers Beat

The Steppers Beat - Some News - Some Opinion - Some Dish
By Markie Bee The Steppers Beat


It's Inevitable - The Flow Is Changing

Written by Markie Bee on January 7, 2015.

I was going to talk about toxic promoters and their effect on the steppin' community but with the events of yesterday that got moved off the radar temporarily. As a preface to that story I feel the need to discuss the issue of teaching steppers first.

Now, instructors probably won't like what I'm about to say now, but the reality in this day in the 21st century is workshops are in reality more about promotion of the lucrative private lesson than teaching. Yes the instructor will give the student some basics or a move in the large class setting and they get a fee for doing so but they can make much more money doing private lessons plus they know a student will learn more in a one on one than in a large class situation.

Now, instructors probably won't like what I'm about to say now, but the reality in this day in the 21st century is workshops are in reality more about promotion of the lucrative private lesson than teaching. Yes the instructor will give the student some basics or a move in the large class setting and they get a fee for doing so but they can make much more money doing private lessons plus they know a student will learn more in a one on one than in a large class situation.

In large professional conventions of every type workshops which last for days have "breakout sessions" where the larger workshop group breaks down to smaller more specialized and in many cases more personal (one on one) training takes place. In large conventions students pay extra for each and every breakout they attend. In stepping we do "privates".

I have seen people charged hundreds of dollars a day to attend these conventions and even more for extra breakout sessions beyond a set number included in the access passes. When a convention of this type is planned, time is built-in so the attendees will have ample opportunity to purchase additional sessions. The convention gets paid, the instructors get paid and the attendees get what they are looking for.

I've seen this once in (a modified version) the stepping community when Cynthia Shanks organization set-up professional training and certification for instructors. Generally our conventions are more about dancing and networking with a side serving of workshops which last a short time in comparison. It needed to be like this for a very good reason. People dance for fun and relaxation (the majority of them do) not as a profession.

How many steppers would be willing to dish out $500 to $1000 at one time to learn to step? Not many -- at least at one time. Many do over time by paying for one class at a time (I'll call it the installment plan) and a cottage industry (or should I say hotel room industry) has grown as a result with "privates".

The "private" is the best way for a learner to get past that sticking point or to learn a new move. Just about every instructor knows this and they take advantage of it and why not? The instructor makes more money; the student gets what they want without having to compete with dozens or hundreds of others for the instructors' attention.

I believe the future of large weekend party instruction won't include nearly as many workshops but instead instructors doing privates throughout the entire course of the weekend. Do the math -- say a 1 hour private costs $50. The instructor starts at 8am and holds privates until 8pm (some already do more than that) and they are at the affair for three days and walk away with $1,800.00. Just imagine the payday for a week long event like Stepaganza!

Some people don't make that kind of money doing their 9 to 5 all week long! And when you consider the promoter usually springs for expenses at some level (travel, the room, etc.) just to get the instructor to the event the actual value is even higher (I'll call them benefits).

Like I said it's a win-win. A wise promoter would only have workshops with the biggest draws (in their estimation) and load up other instructors to assist and then to do privates. The consumers will always tell who they consider the best with their pocketbook.


SteppersUSA is  looking for people who can tell the story to the nation...
I'm looking for staff from Chicago, the East coast (Atlanta, Central Florida, North Carolina), the mid west beyond & including Chicago (Detroit), the west and  on the west coast (San Francisco/Oakland and Seattle). If you take photos -- that's great but it's not necessary (perhaps you know someone who takes photos at the set -- even with a camera phone) we are looking to keep the country informed about the world of steppin in your area.  Shoot me an email!

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