"Step" is a difficult word to google.
March 1, 2006 12:31 AM   Subscribe

What is this dance called Stepping?

I've been enjoying R. Kelly's music for a long time, but I was never clear about what he's referring to when he talks about "stepping", "step in the name of love", etc. What is this "Step" dance style? Does it exist outside of R. Kelly's imagination?
posted by evariste to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There was a dance style called stepping that was popular with the black fraternity/sorority crowd a few years ago.
posted by rdr at 12:38 AM on March 1, 2006

Best answer: The 2002 movie Drumline had some step dance sequences set and shot around Clark University sororities, if you want to see some stylized examples. Don't know how "accurate" (real) these are (it's a movie, after all).
posted by paulsc at 1:31 AM on March 1, 2006

Okay, but...really? In that slow jam "Step In The Name Of Love," Kelly's singing all wistfully about people doing "cheerleading, military, and drill team moves"?

I'm not saying "stepping" in that context doesn't exist, I just don't think that's what he's talking about. Why aren't they doing it in the video?
posted by Ian A.T. at 4:38 AM on March 1, 2006

I just don't think that's what he's talking about

No, it probably is.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:45 AM on March 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just don't think that's what he's talking about.

I think in R Kelly's case step dancing is a bit of a metaphor for proving yourself in a context where status and showmanship is important. Spike Lee has a step show in context in his movie School Daze done by actual fratenity members, I'm not sure what the background is on the step show from Drumline. Step dances are real battles on the dance floor, in the same way you see freestyling battles between MCs. The Wikipedia article on this subject actually isn't that good.
posted by jessamyn at 5:05 AM on March 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: R's talking about the much less well known Chicago Stepping, which is more of a swing dance kind of thing. From this dance club's website:

"And in 2003, a great explosion of interest in Stepping took us by storm when the arrival of R. Kelly's mega-hit "Step In The Name Of Love" hit the airwaves. This allowed many perpetrators to taint the market by misguiding and wrongfully teaching those interested in learning to Step, Chicago-style."

Sorry I can't find another video example, but you can watch the one for Kelly's song itself here.
posted by MsMolly at 5:38 AM on March 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

Ooh, beaten to the punch by jai while I looked for video! :)
posted by MsMolly at 5:39 AM on March 1, 2006

The wedding scene seen toward the end of the trailer for Something New looks a lot like Chicago Stepping.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:09 AM on March 1, 2006

jai and MsMolly are correct; R. Kelly is talking about the partner dance. I've seen both types of stepping, and they have nothing to do with each other other than the fact that they both tend to involve Black people dancing.

On preview, grabbingsand, the dancing in that scene (if you're talking about the part where the guys are standing in a line saying "ho! ho! ho!") resembles stepping in the Greek organization sense, not Chicago stepping.
posted by purplemonkie at 6:17 AM on March 1, 2006

Best answer: There is a whole bunch of Chicago stepping in the video for "Happy People," which you can see here.
posted by purplemonkie at 6:31 AM on March 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Rhino Records has a great Stepping grooves album, here.
posted by soiled cowboy at 8:35 AM on March 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

Stepping is dancing and creating a beat using nothing but your hands, feet, and floor.
posted by Blandanomics at 11:10 AM on March 1, 2006

I don't know about all that R. Kelly business, but Devendra Banhart's cover of "Step In The Name Of Love" ruuules.

Just sayin'.
posted by rabble at 12:58 PM on March 1, 2006

As I know it (in the ge-hetto of DC) Stepping is a uniquely ghetto kind of dance using clapping and stomping and moving around to create beats/a dance. This is not accompanied by music as a traditional dance is, its kind of creating their own music and dancing to it at the same time. You might have more luck googling "step team" as that is what the step clubs are usually called.

A specific example of a step move is being bent over while moving you knees up and down as though you were marching in place. You clap alternatively between your legs (as one is up and one is one the floor, creating a space) and above them. It can get very hard with very complex beats/moves or very simple with just clapping and stomping.

Good examples of steppig as I know it:
after about 2:30 it is more traditional stepping. This is also VERY well choreographed/done.
posted by Suparnova at 2:15 PM on March 3, 2006

(Does anyone actually read the previous answers before posting?)
posted by purplemonkie at 12:45 PM on March 9, 2006

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