Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stepping Gains Popularity From Hollywood

You can always tell that a dance form is gaining popularity when you see it on the silver screen. When the Brazilian dance Lambada was the craze, there was actually a movie titled "Lambada" in1989. Patrick Swayze's "Dirty Dancing" popularized a forbidden dance of the same name.

Some other dance movies are:

"Flashdance" (1983) Breakdancing movie

"Saturday Night Fever" (1977) Disco movie

"Fame" (1980) Jazz movie

"The Turning Point" (1977) Ballet movie

"Staying Alive" (1983) Jazz movie

"Footloose" (1984) New Wave movie

Though there are a lot more that could be mentioned, it cannot be denied that most of these movies help disseminate information on the chosen dance topic. For a dance to be featured on film is a good thing no matter what critics say.

It appears the dance form Stepping is also getting widescreen attention. Here are some of the movies on this African American art form:

"School Daze" (1988) musical-drama film, written and directed by Spike Lee, and starring Laurence Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tisha Campbell.

Based in part on Spike Lee's experiences at Atlanta's Morehouse College, it is a story about fraternity and sorority members clashing with other students at a historically black college during homecoming weekend. This was the second feature film directed by Spike Lee, and was released on February 12, 1988 by Columbia Pictures.

"Stomp the Yard" (2007) drama film produced by Rainforest Films and released through Sony Pictures' Screen Gems division on January 12, 2007.

Directed by Sylvain White, Stomp the Yard centers around DJ Williams, a college student at a fictional historically Black university who pledges to join a fictional Greek-letter fraternity. The film's central conflict involves DJ's fraternity competing in various stepping competitions against a rival fraternity from the same school. The film's script was written by Robert Adetuyi, working from an original draft by Gregory Ramon Anderson. The film was originally titled Steppin', but to avoid confusion over the 2006 film Step Up, the title was changed.

"How She Move" (2008) Canadian film directed by Ian Iqbal Rashid and starring Rutina Wesley, Cl Bennett, and Romina D'Ugo. The film showcases the emerging street culture of step dancing and the talents of a new generation of Canadian-born actors. The film is produced by Celluloid Dreams, Sienna Films and MTV Films.

Motion pictures through the years reflect the way things were and are at the time of filming. The 1930s depression produced movies on how hard life was, the '70s showed movies on promiscuity, abortion, war and other social issues of the time, and so on.

Because Stepping is a continuously growing art form, documenting it at a certain period in time helps record its progress and changes.

Though most practitioners of this dance would say that these movies didn't do full justice to this art form, the message all these films are trying to relay is the same: Stepping is part of African American culture and is a part of the here and now.

MyStepShow.com is a free video sharing community website that features step team performances. Members can post and share video footage of their stepteam performances. Visit http://www.MyStepShow.com to learn more about the tradition of stepping.

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Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game

The greatest blues song of all times starts out with the lament, I hate to see, that evenin sun go down. Some say that the W. C. Handy wail is a precursor to another night alone and homeless on the streets of St. Louis. If youve ever experienced a winter in a mid-western city with relentless wind, freezing temperatures, and dark alleys offering no warmth or haven, then you can almost feel his pain . . . his blues . . . and his aching for a better tomorrow.

If youve never seen a mid-west winter or the streets of St. Louis, then perhaps Ed Taylors (edtaylormusic.com) Dont Hate the Player will drive home that same feeling of dread and hope for a better day.

Ed Taylors music is usually of the smooth jazz variety. And, its often just an instrumental. Ed lets his music speak for him, but in some cases, perhaps, he wants to add his voice to make sure he's understood . . . completely.

In Dont Hate the Player, Ed mixes a nice slow funk and blues with his smooth jazz. Eds lament isnt about the sun and being homeless, its about people living just above that level people living from paycheck to paycheck . . . struggling every day and every week as they try to support a family in America.

Ive got five dollars in my money clip,
And I was supposed to buy my daughter some brand new shoes.
I know my wife is not going to be happy,
And I feel like a lowly fool.

Havent we all been there? Havent we all come up short and faced disappointed faces? Sometimes the worst thing to do is look in the mirror at the most disappointed face of all. Birthday presents, anniversary presents, and Christmas presents just add burden to backs already tired and bent from paying rent and putting dinner on the table.

Eds philosophy is Dont hate the player hate the game. He says, The game is all a poor man has, and even that is not secure. I like the advice. If we look at each day as a game, we may actually already be a winner. It lets us start off each day without the emotional baggage we ended with the day before. With the weight off our back, we can look forward to the new day and new challenges . . . but if we dont make it and that evenin' sun starts goin down . . . hate the game.

Don Doman is a published author, video producer, and corporate trainer. He owns the business training site Ideas and Training (http://www.ideasandtraining.com), which he says is the home of the no-hassle "free preview" for business training videos. He also owns Human Resources Radio (http://www.humanresourcesradio.com), which broadcasts HR and business training information, program previews, and training samples from some of the world's great training speakers twenty-four hours a day. You can listen and learn on Human Resources Radio.

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