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Chicago-Style Stepping, (also known as Steppin') is an urban dance that originated in Chicago and continues to evolve while defining its unique style and culture within the context of mainstream Swing dance. Chicago-Style Stepping has gained popularity, particularly in the urban neighborhoods of America. "Chicago-Style Stepping" makes reference to other urban styles of dance found throughout the United States larger enclaves in cities such as Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.[example needed]
Chicago-Style Stepping, affectionately known as steppin, like most social dances, evolved from the "Bop" in the 1970s. In 1973 Sam Chatman was the first to coin the term "Chicago Step", and has been widely credited with marking steppin's evolutionary transition from Bop. The swing dance known as Steppin' is a part of the Western Swing family. The parent dance "Chicago Bop" may have been more Eastern Swing, but Steppin' has characteristics more similar to Western, especially its usage of a lane or slot. The term "Bop" was used to describe the dance form by Chicagoans until the early 1970s. Prior to that time "Bop" was a universally known term with its origin beginning sometime between 1945 & 1950 to express music and dance. The dance known as Chicago Steppin' evolved from Bop and is more likely a derivative of Jitterbug. No published syllabuses exist for the dance. Chicago-Style Stepping gained a real foothold when a local radio station, WVAZ (102.7FM/1390AM) began playing "Mr. Fix-It" and "Loves Gonna Last", two obscure songs recorded by Jeffree (Jeffree Perry) from his MCA 1979 Jeffree album. "Mr Fix it" had modest success as a single on the R&B charts. "Loves Gonna Last", an album cut, became so popular in Chicago that the steppers dubbed it The Steppers National Anthem.
R. Kelly's songs that featured Steppin' or Stepping helped move the dance into mainstream culture.
Chicago Stepping is a slotted dance. The follower is typically kept traveling up and down the slot. Two action two one count cycle is the structure. Patterns like "roll out and rollback" describe the action on the slot or lane. The lane belongs to the follower and the leaders travel on, off and around the slot or lane. Steppin' has a 6 or 8 count basic pattern. Its tempo ranges 70 to 100 bpm. Its basic rhythm pattern consists of a double and two syncopated triples. The patterns start traditionally on the downbeat of one. The leader's footwork is started on their Left and finished on their Right. The follower's dance is naturally opposite. The dance bears similar characteristics to New York Hustle and West Coast Swing.
- Kyles, Kyra (2009). "Taking a Step Back", ChicagoTribune.com. Accessed: July 24, 2014.
- Let Us Show You How .... Chicago Style Stepping ... Effortless Steps; YouTube