We all know Mike Bryant, one of the few remaining original Majestic Gents, but with his comrade Pete Frazier always in the front, the community never gets an opportunity to get his perspective on Steppin. ChiStepper reached out to Mike to learn more about his history in Steppin, why he has remained loyal to the Gents, and whether he feels overshadowed by Majestic Gents front man, Pete Frazier.
Mike, I think you’re one of the longest standing Majestic Gents and a close friend to Pete Frazier. A lot of Gents have come and gone over the years. Why are you still a part of the group?
First of all, the love of the dance and more importantly the friendship that Pete and I have formed over 30 years. Our mantra is “I am my brother’s keeper.”
When I first started Steppin, the Majestic Gents would through sets downtown at the Hyatt, and all over the nation in places like Las Vegas, Atlanta, Miami and more. What has changed in the Steppin game since those days?
The art of Steppin has grown to such new heights that other cities have created their own niche in the art with the help of people that have relocated from Chicago to other cities.
Do you miss those days?
Yes, but with the loss of some of the original Gents it made doing out-of-town events more challenging for me and Pete. The state of the economy in the early 2000’s made us relocate from the Hyatt to Willow Brook and now to Tinley Park.
Why do you think the Majestic Gents have had the longevity the group has experienced in Steppin?
Hard work and we appeal to old school and new school.
Do you ever feel overshadowed by Pete’s popularity?
Not at all – he has the gift of gab and I’m the quiet shy type. [Laughing] When it’s all said and done, I’ve got his back and I know he has mine.
Mike, from what I hear you were a really good basketball player in your day. Is this true?
Hell yeah, but I let others give me accolades. Remember what I said Terrance, I’m the shy type. [Laughing]
Are there any Steppers you’ve played with that you think are better than you?
HELL NO, next question!
You work at Bloomingdale’s and you’re always well dressed. How important is fashion to you?
On a scale of 1 to 10, that would be a 10. My mother, my angel, may she continue to Rest In Peace, had me well dressed even as a toddler. As a matter of fact, I just posted a throwback Thursday pic of my mother and me.
When did you start Steppin?
Back in the late 70’s.
How did you get into it?
In high school during lunch period the guys would freestyle with one another, but remember I was an athlete so I stayed in my lane and kept it simple and let those that could go to work, go to work.
What do you love most about Steppin?
Getting dressed and seeing mature adults express themselves through the art of this dance we call Steppin.
Of everything you’ve experienced in Steppin, what has been your fondest memory?
I would have to say our first party we gave in Miami.
What advice would you give to new Steppers?
I’m gonna make this one real simple … just have fun and it’s not that serious.
Thank you T. Pratt for allowing me to express a few thoughts. Much love to the Steppin community!