• The Background and Evolution of Stepping


    From around the 1930’s to the 1950’s, the dance was the Jitterbug. During those days the Jitterbug was the rage and the dance of choice for couples. The music was pumped and each couple had their own style or special combination of moves that made them stand out from others. All types of moves were used, including acrobatics.

    With time, the Jitterbug became less popular and by the 1960’s African Americans made their own form of couples dance called the “The Bop”. It was more of a two-step swing type dance that continued throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s.During the 1980’s, more social clubs were started; they held events that became known as “Steppers Sets”. As the social clubs became more organized, Steppers Sets spread throughout Chicago, and drew crowds of people from around the city. The music, the atmosphere and the people, who were dressed in their finest attire at these “sets” meant a good time, some good dancing and lots of good looking people.

    The term “Stepping” was used as more Steppers’ Sets were given. These sets did not include Disco, which was more of a free style dance that was popularized after “Stepping” had begun.  People would say they were going out “Stepping” as opposed to saying, “I’m going out dancing” and they were always “Steppers Sharp”.

    Just as the Jitterbug evolved into a calmer dance style called the “Bop”, the “Bop” has evolved to a smoother and classier style called “Stepping”.  As with both dances the men and women danced on the opposite foot. The “Bop” was performed in an East to West direction, consisting of two shuffles, a kick and a cross-step in both directions.  The exact amount of steps used in the Bop, are used in Stepping.  The difference is the direction of the dance.  Stepping is a dance done in a North to South direction