Patricia and Steve Matthews
Steve Matthews, founder of SM Stepping Productions has been hosting an “All White Party” for the last 4 years in Atlanta. The yearly “All White Party” also hosts the Prelims for the WLSC. Steve says that he just hosts the prelim but Pete Frazier is the one that oversees the contest (which was held Saturday, August 11th). The party drew close to 300 people, and the elegant white affair treated VIP patrons to bottles of champagne. Steve said there are a lot of new folks coming out on the scene and it would be good if they had a better understanding of how the contest is ran and the different categories they can compete in. He’s hoping for a consistent format similar to the one used in the WLSC.
When I asked Steve about the direction of the Atlanta Stepping Community he responded. “The direction of the Stepping Community in Atlanta can really expand beyond where it is now. We really need to keep people involved and stop talking about who’s not doing the dance right. We’re bringing folks along and it’s important for them to enjoy the dance. I personally don’t really agree with teaching on the dance floor. We got to get away from critiquing people on the floor. I tell the ladies when you come out to dance, just have fun and be careful about critiquing on the dance floor. I hear a lot of folks complaining about that and it makes them not want to dance. When we’re out to dance we should have fun. As you know, this is therapy for a lot of folks. Females outnumber the males no matter where you go. So when the brothers [are] out there trying to give you a dance, they don’t need to hear the other stuff. If we can get more men involved it would take away a lot of issues. Teaching should remain in the classroom.”
Steve says that one of the ways he contributes to the Atlanta Stepping community is by getting more men involved. “I’m trying to get more men involved by offering them free classes. I tell the females that if you bring a guy with you, then your class is free. Me and some others here put on free workshops for men all the time. You see when I grew up in the dance in Chicago, guys didn’t have a problem allowing other guys to show them something. Ego plays a major role in the progression of the males that are dancing today. Well some of them. You see, I don’t mind getting with Ronnie B, Doc, Daryl or Danny and saying “Hey man show me that move you just did?” If you want to get better in the dance you got to get out there and ask. We need to recruit more men in the dance.”
I asked Steve about the camaraderie in the Atlanta area. He replied. “Camaraderie amongst the groups [is] growing. People are always gonna bump heads but it’s methodically starting to pick up and grow. From a business stand point you hear some say this is my day to do a set and the other say this is my day to do a set. If we keep letting the community grow the problem of having sets on the same day won’t matter because it will be enough people out there. Some people just like going to certain sets and that’s okay. If your set it THE set and you’re doing all the right things it don’t matter what’s going on over there, people will still be at your set. I enjoy watching folks dance and have a good time. At the same time, when I’m out, I’m out for a good time. Working behind scenes is a lot of work. I’m thankful for my team on SM Stepping productions. I get a lot support from my wife Patricia Matthews and Vickie Harris.”