1-8-2015 Steppers Beat

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

Happy Bad Year? Under Who's Control?

Written by Markie Bee on January 8, 2015.

Why do some promoters/instructors think they can dominate a large urban area expecting everyone to march to their drum beat or find the door? Why do some of these so-called promoters run around their "fiefdom" thinking they can control where students can learn the dance? At what point did they believe they could cross the line between free choice and control over those who just want to enjoy a dance or the learning experience?

I mentioned in an exchange between myself and one such promoter such issues. It's too bad the administrator of the group decided to remove the entire thread of conversation -- fortunately I and others saved the exchange before it was deleted.

In this particular case the promoter wanted to exercise "control" so I asked, "Are you saying as the promoter you have say as to who a workshop instructor chooses to work with?" (As background information, the promoter didn't want the person who happened to be a well known instructor to be at the workshop even though the instructor they hired had asked the person to come in, bring in some sound equipment and then asked him to assist him. They made the "assisting instructor" pay the student $20 fee to enter the workshop. He threw the $20 down on the table and entered the workshop. Essentially, the promoter accused the "assisting instructor" of being rude.)

Continuing... "Because from all I've heard this has a lot more to do with than rude manors.
The whole story needs to be out there. Perhaps it does have to do with rude manors from the scene I've had described to me that transpired when your husband arrived at the venue. Hmmm... I really wonder."

The response was, "As the promoter, we should always know who is teaching classes we host."

My response to the promoters' statement, "You did - the person you paid held the workshop and the person he chose to assist him is his business. You see in the steppers community as the promoter your responsibility is to get the teacher in the door. How and with whom he chooses to teach with is their business. There's none of that "they're my student business" going on in the steppers community (students are not property they have freedom to choose with whom and where they want to learn at any time).

Don't breach your contracts because it can cost you big time. Remember the promoter you hire doesn't have the same responsibility to the customers and contractors you ultimately have so keep an eye on the numbers as well as their actions. We've all seen promoters go off the reservation by getting greedy, cutting corners, skimming funds and so on. I've seen family members do it to other family members so keep an eye on what's happening with your event.

If a promoter or instructor can't work with the other instructors or promoters they can't build their community. If they can't build their community they don't belong in the community and that's the 100."

The response was, "Well we will just have to agree to disagree."

Yes, allegations were made about trying to "steal students" (which was refuted and proven incorrect) and it was in reflection, very petty. But that's not really what all of this is about there are much larger issues here which include such weighty issues like freedom of choice and creating an atmosphere of unity (within the community) and most importantly giving customers service at a high level which would make them want to come back for more.

A promoter/instructor calling another instructor out and making a scene in front of an entire workshop shows no class... The action shows a total disregard of the customers present, disrespect to the workshop instructors and very poor taste in general. Not the type of management decision that would get you on the cover of the "Business Decision Makers Quarterly".

Oh, wait there's more. The instructors were told they shouldn't visit other classes or events while in town (what happened to free will?) and should only attend their events. And up to this point I haven't mentioned the 69 text messages I received concerning all of this mess from a very upset friend of mine who got a call from this promoter cussing her out to the point she had to hang up on him. These promoters/instructors seem to be trying to control their area and everyone in it.

The fact that a check bounced and one of the instructors was locked out of their room (wait isn't this a case of dejavu? Didn't this just happen down the coast to Sunshine at the Harlem Nights?) is indicative of poor management and planning. Why even have events if you can't pay for them? It's a fact they were told about existing events in the area too and they should collaborate but that was refused. Once again a promoter is making a bad name for the genre.

So let's see, so far we have a promoter that can't or won't play well with others. They believe they own their students and when they are working as so-called promoters they think they have the right to control people they hired to do what they couldn't in the first place. I have received texts, inboxes, and calls from people from Chicago to Oakland and the Bay area about these people who disgraced the steppers community.

Isn't it about time steppers hold their own to a higher standard? People want and deserve a better brand of product. Yesterday I gave you the solution to the whole future of steppers workshops. Today I pointed out the latest promoter caused problems coming out of the west coast. I won't make this any longer today! My next column I'll talk about the solutions available.

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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