I know it’s been a long, long time since my last blog and I was reminded of this at a steppers event that I attended this past weekend…
I have to admit, when I created the site for Artistic Motions, with the instructional videos, interviews, blog etc., I had way too many balls in the air and much too much content to manage. Frankly, I felt extremely overwhelmed. I was filming, editing and producing instructional dance videos, teaching dance privately in the studio, writing a blog, keeping track of every aspect of social media related to the website, attending sets, maintaining a home and trying my best to sustain some semblance of balance in a private life. I’ve also had a significant life event occur that has changed my life forever (more to come on that in the future). To say that my life has been interesting these past few months would be an understatement.
There are some personal accomplishments that I think are worthy of mention from 2015: several new free member subscriptions (100+) to the Artistic Motions Online Steppin’ website, the creation of the video series Profiles in Steppin’ on the Artistic Motions YouTube channel, the launch of the mobile DJ component of Artistic Motions and the merging of it with the Fun Muggin’ Media photo booth kiosk. While the aforementioned accomplishments are commendable simply because they were achieved, they pale in comparison to what I believe is by far is the best accomplishment of the Artistic Motions organization since its inception.
This fall, in Washington, D.C., a portion of the AM video “Somebody Else’s Arms” will be featured in a display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) at the Smithsonian. The video was chosen by the museum curators to represent Chicago Steppin’ specifically along with other social dances performed in the black community in a four-minute narrated video. My goal is to be in attendance at the museum’s grand opening on September 24 to see the display and the video in person.
I’m sharing this information to make a point (sorry, you know it takes me a while to build my narrative). And the point is this: Doing your best matters. Pursuing your passion matters. Having a high standard matters. Following your passion and daring to be different matters. You have to know who you are and “BE” the “YOU” that you are. ONLY YOU CAN BE YOU!
From the very beginning of my quest to learn and become proficient in Chicago Steppin’, I decided that I wanted to do it with professionalism, finesse and my own sense of style. I wanted to showcase the dance from my perspective and allow others to experience my interpretation of it. And I wanted to highlight the wonderful variety of music that we have the privilege of dancing to.
What I’ve learned in this dance is that daring to be different, taking the road less traveled and being determined to be yourself can be quite a lonely experience at times. The pressure to conform, to fit in and go with the flow of things can be unbearable. And there’s always someone who has an opinion of what it is that they think you should be doing. During my pursuit of the dance I’ve heard statements mentioned by others like “he’s not REALLY Steppin’, he’s doing something different” or “What he’s doing is cool and all, but it’s not TRUE Steppin’…
I’ve heard these kinds of rumblings consistently since I’ve been in the dance. I could have listened to it and believed it, but that’s not how I’m built. I know I’m different. I know how to “BE” me! Determination in the midst of doubt, class in the midst of criticism and belief in the midst of belligerence is critical to your existence if you are to arrive at the final destination of your journey unscathed. There aren’t many who can survive the pressure of conformity, but those who do reap great reward. Sometimes you have to filter out all of the noise, chart your path and follow your gut!
I personally believe that this is exactly why the Smithsonian chose one of my videos. To be selected for inclusion in the Smithsonian is, in my opinion, one of the highest honors one can achieve for doing something as simple as dancing.
The 2016 year is shaping up to be even more exciting for the Artistic Motions Online Steppin’ community as well as the organizations across the country that associated with us. I’ll do my best to keep you informed of every single development with us because we’re family. 🙂
Be you…do you…and keep Steppin’. I’ll see you on the wood!