Upscale Steppin in Orlando this weekend

Walt EX

Walt C Lane

Steppin communities around the nation are growing so fast it’s hard to keep up. I can’t say I’m very familiar with the Orlando dance community. About how many Steppers would you say are in Orlando?

Approximately 200.

How were you introduced to Steppin?

I first saw Steppin in 1995 while working for the Detroit News, in Detroit, Michigan. I took my first class when I returned to Florida.

How did you get into promoting a major weekend event?

[In] 2011 another promoter was hosting a Prelim for Pete Frazier. The preparation and planning was not done, so Pete Frazer and Dru Smith (RIP) called me at the last minute and asked could I host, promote and plan a Prelim contest.  With two months left before the event, I was able to plan and promote the event on schedule. The venue dance floor was not to my standards and in the best condition, so I purchased the supplies and had a floor installed. The event was successful and I was asked to promote another event the next year. After consideration and requests from the local Steppers to promote another event the next year, I agreed but with a new team and with the creation of Florida Steppers International, Inc. This year I will be hosting our 6th annual event but in reality this will be my 7th annual event but I don’t count the 2010 event.

Give us a little background on the Florida Steppers International, Inc.?

The Florida Steppers International was created as a 501c3, not-for-profit agency that utilizes social events as a vehicle for raising funds for community service projects and programs. Our mission is to support the community and invest in the youth of Central Florida. We seek to provide exercise dance instruction, nutrition, childhood obesity and health awareness programs to at-risk youth, young adults and the adult communities within a relaxed and enjoyable social atmosphere. We promote a family-oriented environment and encourage our clients to “Pay It Forward” in order to positively affect the lives of others. When I was looking for a name, my vision was to bring in experienced Steppers to provide instruction to my guests, but also bring in instructors to teach me to be a better Stepper and teach me how to teach. Because I wanted to have instructors in my organization from Chicago and other locations, the name International was added. Some of my first Instructors was Moe, Tyk Man, Charnice, Reggie Handy, Ted Williams, Bonita Williams, Ann Hunter, Kat N Tha Hat, Shawn James, and Royce Banks. Most recently, I have settled on my International team with Ken Amorio, The Steady Steppers: Larry Collins, Rickey Banks and Keith Hubbard.

I remember from an earlier conversation, you telling me you were very big on quality. What do you look for when you travel to a Steppin event?

Customer service, ambiance, hospitality, entertainment, venue and professionalism. I’ve attended some events that was not planned well and guests was not the priority. The number one priority to me is my guest, you want your guest leaving satisfied and can’t wait to return the next year and bring friends with them.

What can Stepper look forward to at your White Party coming up next weekend Aug. 18 – 21 in Orlando?

A Steppers Event not a Steppers Party. Each guest can expect to be treated with royalty. Our event kicks off with a Sickle Cell fundraiser. Your All Access Pass of $135.00 gives you free access to our Beach Day Party on Cocoa Beach, Bar B Que reception, Meet & Greet (Purple and Bling Prince Tribute), All Free Workshops, Free Pool Party, Red Carpet photo shoot, Candle light dinner during a live jazz concert, Live performance by Glenn Jones, Worship Service, plated breakfast brunch and a farewell Steppers Set. Additionally, a five-star hotel with resort style living, bicycle riding, fishing, pool tables, hammock relaxing by the lake, tourist attractions such as Walt Disney, Sea World, Universal Studios, Leggo Land and many other attractions within a 20-minute ride. Our goal is to ensure that everyone who attends has a magical experience, and leaves anxiously antic­ipating the next event. If we do our job, and do it well, you will not only return next year, you will bring your friends along. This is how our Steppers family will continue to grow … and we thank you!