Dre and Company head honcho Andre Blackwell is starting the new year with a change of location. The Chicago Steppin great is heading to Atlanta to try his hand in the south. ChiStepper caught up with Dre to discuss the move ….
By the time Steppers read this you’ll be relocated to Atlanta. Why are you moving to Atlanta?
I’m moving to Atlanta for better opportunities. To better myself. Also, for the niche I created in Steppin. I feel as though Steppin has declined. Lastly, to bring the south back up. The south has fallen off. The south is hardly represented in the World’s Largest at all.
Is relocating to Atlanta different in any way than when you relocated to Phoenix nearly 8 years ago?
Yes, I think so because there’s more of my culture in Atlanta than in Arizona. When I went to Arizona it was a culture shock. I think Atlanta is a small Chicago. There are more Black people in Atlanta and I’m more comfortable dealing with my own people. And Arizona definitely ain’t interested in no damn Steppin.
Chicago has unquestionably the biggest Steppin population in the nation. Why do you think you can have more success in Atlanta than you had in Chicago?
The game has changed. It’s saturated now [in Chicago]. A Stepper wins in the World’s Largest and all of the sudden they think they should teach. There are tons of dancers that have been out here for years dancing, but all of the sudden now they want to teach. I have no clue why. I think it’s time for me to move around. I’ve had my run in Chicago. I learned something valuable from Casper as well. He said, “No matter how good you are, there will always be somebody that comes behind you that’s younger and/or better.” First it was him, then it was me, and now there are Steppers coming after me. So you have to take your talent and move around with it.
Atlanta already has a number of great dancers and accomplished instructors, what does Andre Blackwell bring to the table that’s unique?
Energy. Style. Grace. Precision. I don’t think none of the Steppers in Atlanta are on my level, because if there were so many great dancers and instructors in Atlanta, why haven’t they won a contest? Why haven’t they produced any great students?
And then the experience. I’ve been dancing for a long time … AND WINNING. I don’t think they have the precision that I have.
Will you have regular class hours? Most likely. I’m going there for employment first. Let’s get that squared away first. I’m trying to get my EMT situation set up and go from there. Then we’ll see what happens with Steppin.
How can Steppers reach you for classes and/or privates? They can hit me on my email at: email@example.com or call me at 773.800.6400.