I know that it’s been a while since you heard from me and I wanted to reassure you that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth yet. Life has been great but busy for us as an organization and I wanted to take a moment to share with you a few of the initiatives we’ve embarked upon, as well as update you on a few upcoming events that you may want to be a part of.
I’d like to first thank everyone in the AM family, the national Steppin’ family at-large and a host of family and friends for your support and congratulatory spirit for a portion of one of the AM videos being featured in the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian. We had a wonderful time in Washington, DC and the museum is a sight to behold. I encourage everyone to go see how our historical story is told.
I have to be honest with you here…up until the time that I actually saw the snippet of video myself, I wasn’t sure if I would see anything. I never received confirmation at any time that the video had actually been used, so I was in reserve mode from the time we left Pittsburgh up until our physical presence in front of the actual exhibit screen in the museum. And while the snippet of video is extremely short (less than 3 seconds to be exact), I was both relieved and grateful to see it there (can you imagine the embarrassment!?!?!?!). Below is a video of the exhibit and me standing next to it as the short video snippet (essentially, it’s a double-left turn from the weak side) comes up on the screen with a supportive cast of family and friends present.
Part of the east coast trip (Indy – Pittsburgh, PA – New York, NY – Freehold, NJ – Wilmington, DEL – Washington, DC – Woodbridge, VA – Indy) also consisted of an unanticipated, but fun weekend of working with the Silky Smooth Dance Studio of Woodbridge, Virginia where Sandra Mason and Ortiz Wilson keep things moving. I had the pleasure of conducting privates, a workshop and even playing a little on the 1’s and 2’s while there. The folks in that area of the country are proficient dancers and wonderful people. Special thanks to Tracey Stewart and Charlotte Allen of Baltimore, MD who made a special trip to spend time with us (and LaKimbra “Kim” Atkinson, who although she couldn’t make it, was there in spirit – and later shipped us some of the biggest crab cakes I’ve ever seen!!). See the testimonial below from Sandra Madison of Virginia Beach, VA, an Artistic Motions/Silky Smooth workshop attendee (and all-around great person) and the private instruction observations of Ortiz Wilson-Taylor, co-proprietor of the Silky Smooth Dance Studio.
“Victor James – nothing but the truth! It’s no wonder that his dance presentation is a part of the African-American Smithsonian Museum. Wonderful combination of measured instruction and he’s a great intuitive dancer too. High energy and amiability – during the social I think I saw Victor dance with every lady who attended his class, tailored to the music and each partner. Nothing out the can there! He and Lisa Jeff worked it at Silky Smooth Dance Studio in Woodbridge, VA. Great teaching team. She worked it too – giving all the guys a chance to put together what they learned.”
“I had the privilege of being a fly on the wall that day (door keeper). Victor spent time with each person who took privates. Very respectful to both man and woman. Good teaching methods, (Explain it, Illustrate it, Apply it) Patience as they worked thru the moves with him right in the move with them. (Has the patience of a doctor.) As each appointment came thru the door I wanted to say, uhmmm here to see Doctor James? And folks were prompt too. . . . great job Victor, non-stop all day! Whew Hat’s off!!! And Congrats for landing in the Museum.”
As I stated earlier, I wanted to share some of the accomplishments of Artistic Motions for the 2016 year . Listed below are just a few:
- Induction of a portion of the video “Somebody Else’s Arms” in the National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC) at the Smithsonian
- Growth of the online Steppin’ family (currently 177 members)
- Creation of the AM theme song by recording artist Roszunn
- Continuation of the “Profiles in Steppin” series featuring interview with Roszunn
- Permission from four recording artists to use their songs in future AM instructional videos.
- Creation of the new service component, the AM Mobile DJ/Photo Booth unit
- AM apparel offering hoodies, t-shirt and hats featuring the AM logo and tagline (link to page coming soon)
- Monthly instructional boot camps and after sets in Pittsburgh, PA from April thru October
- Successful 2-day dance intensive in Dallas, TX
- New organizational affiliations with Step Up Entertainment of Pittsburgh, PA, The Elephant Room of Lancaster, TX, Together, Strong & Invincible (TSI) Dance Studio in Houston, TX and the Silky Smooth Dance Studio in Woodbridge, VA.
As you can see, the 2016 year has been both busy and professionally rewarding. Focus, determination and the fostering of great relationships also keeps the work coming! We don’t plan to rest on our laurels however, as we have even more exciting initiatives planned for the 2017 year and beyond including:
- Revival of the “Best Dance of the Weekend” t-shirt campaign (see the “AM Special Recognition” tab in the navigation menu of the AM website)
- Launch of the “She’s in Your City” – AM videos highlighting some of the smoothest, most elegant female steppers from cities across America.
- Launch of the “Where’s Artistic Motions??” campaign
- Online students will submit short video clips demonstrating the moves they’ve learned online
- Video must contain city location of member and class attended (days and times) in that particular city
- AM will pick at least one video per month and make a surprise, unannounced visit to the class of the selected member’s video
- AM video conferencing to enhance understanding of the Lead and Follow Series
- Online membership initiatives designed to reach 300-students online goal
- More Profiles in Steppin’ interviews of recording artists and great DJ’s and unique people in the Steppin’ community
- Creation of Artistic Motions’ L.E.G.S. = League of Extraordinary “Gentlemen” Steppers
- The inaugural Artistic Motions National Steppers Set (2018) for online members, family & friends
- Monthly workshops/bootcamps with Step Up Entertainment of Pittsburgh, PA.
- Dance instruction offerings with the Elephant Room of Lancaster, TX, the Esquires of Dallas, TX, TSI of Houston, TX and Silky Smooth Dance Studio of Woodbridge, VA
Finally, I’d like to finish this post on an even more positive note. As members of the AM online family, I want your membership to mean something. I want it to matter as much to you as your membership, dedication and loyalty matters to me. As a small token of my appreciation for your membership as an AM online family member, you have the distinct pleasure of being able to see the brand new, yet to be released video offering from Artistic Motions. This video is different from the others, in part because it features the cultural counterpart of Steppin’ – Walkin’ – and the video actually has a story line.
The song featured in our latest video offering is Brian Culbertson’s “Together Tonight” and it features myself and the lovely Ms. Lisa Jeff. The video also highlights a few of the amenities of downtown Indianapolis as the story unfolds. I’m especially proud of this latest offering because it is my first attempt at producing, directing and editing what I think is a MTV/BET/VH1 – type video. Only three other fairly objective people have seen the final draft of the new video, but I can tell you that the response thus far has been overwhelmingly positive (one viewer was actually quite emotional after seeing it).
To view the video, go to the AM website www.artisticmotions.com, sign in and click on the “AM Instructional Videos” tab in the navigation menu. Scroll down the page to “AM Video Premiere” to view the new video and by all means please provide your feedback. I look forward to hearing what you think of the new offering. The “Together Tonight” video will be released for the general public on the AM YouTube channel on November 1, 2016.
I want to give a huge shout out and even bigger thank you to my niece Moynealia Flowers and her fiance’ Lamont Pryor, Veronica Abbey and Stephanie Satterfield for their assistance in helping me get this production done the way I wanted to do it. Your assistance and support for this latest project are appreciated and invaluable.
Until the next time, keep calm and keep Steppin’…I’ll see you on the wood somewhere soon!