2-9-2015 Steppers Beat

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

But We've Always Done It That Way...

Written by Markie Bee on February 9, 2015.

Oh I've heard, "But we've always done it that way..." so many times in so many different forms and I generally have a response to that worn out statement. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against tradition (even though I'm not sure how long something needs to be done before it can be called a tradition) but I do like to see things done right.

When I was young, I worked in a factory for about a year manufacturing railroad cars. My job was at the end of the "line", where I would climb under the car after the overhead crane picked it up, take some measurements, make some adjustments and move the car out to the next phase of production.

One day the foreman got in my face because he wanted more production from my line. I told him I was giving him all the line could give and still do the job correctly and safely. He (the foreman) continued to scream at me and didn't notice the quality superintendent behind him. The QA super turned him around and told him I was doing what I was supposed to do. The foreman said I should take shortcuts to get more production and the QA super stopped him in his tracks and he said something I'd never forget...

He said, "This man is doing the job the right way." The foreman said, "But I've been doing the job this way for 20 years." The QA super continued, "And starting today you're going to do it the right way. If there's a better way that will give us the same or better results in less time, let's work on it. In the meanwhile leave this man be."

You can draw all sorts of conclusions from the discourse but to me the most important thing was I did the job the right way and I did the job fast as required and my work was affirmed by one of the big bosses at the job. Of course we aren't on the job when there is a dance floor and some music to step to but there is a matter of doing it right... and doing it right means being yourself not a carbon copy of someone else.

Who is going to say what is right and what is wrong on the hardwood? Nobody can claim to be the dance floor police or judge and jury as to what's right or wrong on the floor. I'm not talking about who started steppin' when and I'm not talking about particular styles. I just don't believe anyone owns the dance that way.

The only thing that's common to all of the styles is the basic pattern of the dance. Everything else is gravy or extra or dessert or whatever else you would like to call it. If you do that part of the dance right and everything else will fall into place. Remember, the basic pattern by itself without style is nothing more than marching.

We've seen after more than a decade how the count was incorrectly used by so many instructors who mistakenly taught the count was the center of the dance when it is actually just a tool to help people get in synchronization with the beat and rhythm of the music. Master that point and you're on your on your way to starting to really dance.

Many people get stuck in that rut and can't understand why their dance looks and feels so robotic (not smooth) but continue to dance in that limiting fashion. Practicing breaking out and putting a little of yourself into your dance will help to break that cycle. Breaking away from your partner for a couple of measures and doing your thing and returning to the pattern smoothly will make a noticeable difference in your dance. If you watch some more advanced steppers you'll see that's exactly what they do.

While it's good to watch and learn and mimic what moves others do remember the goal is for you to create your own moves within the bounds of the dance. When you look at the dance floor you shouldn't see everyone doing all of the exact same moves as everyone else... where's the fun in that? Have fun with the dance and watch your level of enjoyment soar!!!

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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