NYCE Entertainment Founder, Damon Rose (Photo credit: ChiStepper.com)
Damon Rose’s Style Masters Weekend is in the books and hundreds of Steppers are walking a tad bit slower this morning, nursing sore feet from a weekend full of dancing. The NYCE Entertainment team hosted one of the most organized and value packed weekends that I’ve attended outside of the Heritage Ball. For the last three or so years, I’ve lauded Damon as one of the most creative and brand aware promoters in the entire Steppin industry, and he and his team proved this true once again this weekend.
When myself, Drew Alexander, Will and Monique Caldwell, Shorty Smooth, J Most and partner arrived in Norfolk, VA we were greeted with a limo bus that took us back to the host hotel. Check-in was smooth, rooms were nice, and shortly after arriving Talking Tea with Tika and I hosted the very first Friday Night Live event. We had a good time chatting with guests Monique, Drew, Samantha Reed, and Andre Blackwell, while Shorty Smooth played the music and kept the flow fun. J Most performed one of this Steppers hits and then we proceeded to the main ballroom for the first ever Hip Hop steppin set to my knowledge.
DJ G-Nice kicked off the Hip Hop steppers set with tracks like Drake’s “Come Thru,” followed by DJ Shorty Smooth. This was my first time hearing G-Nice play in person and the brother is an absolute wizard when it comes to blending and understanding music. Of course, Shorty Smooth is now a young general in the DJ industry, and he worked the crowd with ease. The NYCE Entertainment staff offered complimentary BBQ Pork Sliders, Sweet Tea, and Ice water for their guests; a very thoughtful gesture.
DJ Shorty Smooth, DJ Sampsonite, DJ G Nice (Photo credit: ChiStepper.com)
Saturday morning I stopped by the ballroom where Dre and Drew were giving private lessons. Drew was teaching Greystone, the only dance outside of Chicago Steppin that I actually want to learn. I made the mistake of saying the dance looks difficult to learn standing next up and coming Steppin standout Taylar Raymond, and she gave me an impromptu lesson, furthering my budding love for the dance. Speaking of Taylor, she’s already a young beast in the dance, and considering she’s self-taught and knows probably seven other dances, one can only imagine where she’ll go in the dance.
Later Saturday afternoon, Drew lead a Trio workshop with assistance from Andre Blackwell. It’s amazing how great Trio instructors like Drew can have you doing moves you never imagined in an hour. I looked at some of those turns like, “Nah bruh, see the way mind is set up, I can’t do stuff like that.” Some how Drew pulled it out of me though.
The Saturday night Steppers set was incredible and my brother DJ Sampsonite out of Atlanta went all the way to work in booth. The brother went on a 10 song stretch that made me and Andre Blackwell look at each other and make an ugly face. I mean he played hit, after hit, after hit. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and my two bad knees paid a dear price the next morning.
On Sunday morning, I woke up and put on my Jordan’s because I promised myself I wasn’t dancing ANYMORE. I was done. Period. I go downstairs with my luggage for the brunch and Damon Rose has a beautiful breakfast spread laid out with eggs, sausage, bacon, grits, biscuits, fruit, muffins, pastries, juice, and more. No sooner than I set my plate on the table does Shorty Smooth go into another murderous run of incredible music that forced me to put my dance shoes on, and make my way to the floor. DJ Sampsonite said, “T, your food is getting cold.” I said, “Sampsonite, the food will be here but these hit records won’t, I have to go dance to them while I can.” Ten songs later, Shorty Smooth finally let me have a seat.
One of the best parts of major dance weekends is seeing your friends, and I got to catch up with lot of my Steppin buddies from around the nation. In addition to those already mentioned it was great seeing Tall Rick and Dee, Sharvin Whitted, Cheryl Powe, Jonathan McDougald, Latoya McClain, Sam and Kathy, Norman and Eunice Cherry, Cherise Felipa, Tamala Harris, Maryham Lynch-Tate, Ericka Little, Martin Majeske, and so many other new and familiar faces. Damon had a special presentation where he brought us up and gave us bottles of wine, t shirts, and other goodies, all branded with the NYCE Entertainment logo. If there was a downside to the weekend, it was that I never got to see the beautiful city of Norfolk, Virginia. So much water, cool shipyards everywhere, and incredible people. My kind of place. Job well done NYCE Entertainment.
NYCE Entertainment (Photo credit: ChiStepper.com)