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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Purple Charlotte Steppers bring a new dance culture to the Queen City
 
Published Thursday, December 13, 2007
by Erica Singleton, For The Charlotte Post

that don’t know about the dance culture, can come out in a non-threatening environment and just observe if they want to and decide from there if they want to come out to a Monday night class.”

They even hand out an instructional booklet to get you started, explaining to men how to ask women to dance, politely; how to handle a situation when two dancers are not on the same level; and explaining all of the terms, from Half-turn, to cool hesitate, to calypso.

“We just want to offer an alternative to what’s out there,” said Carter. “It’s just the whole culture of getting dressed up going out on Saturday night...in the South it’s just a little different. It’s more of a club culture, whereas in the Midwest it’s more of a nightlife culture...and the nightlife and club are really different.”

But the organization is not just about dance, the Purple Charlotte Steppers started as a fundraising organization for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Little League, while providing an adult social environment. Though their objective may have changed, their mission is still the same.

“Initially we started the organization to raise money for a non-profit,” explained Carter. “We were planning out the season for the little league, and we thought... how can we bring the adults together in a non-threatening environment. Usually when you want to ask people for money, they don’t want to come around. I grew up in a dancing culture, I wanted to bring it here, and I thought it was a good way to get the stepping culture in Charlotte.”

The Monday night instructional session is $5 per person, and the money still goes toward costs for the HBCULL.

“It’s a great place to come and socialize and just meet new people,” added Carter. In addition, he explained that contrary to popular belief, the couples dance is not strictly for couples. “A lot of the people who come out are singles. People think that ninety percent of the people who come out are couples, but that hasn’t been the case. I’d say 80-to 85 percent who come out are singles.”

The Purple Charlotte Steppers will be offering more instructional evening classes in 2008, and a course through Central Piedmont Community College, in which participants will have their blood pressure monitored and BMI taken, to assess how beneficial the dance is to an individual’s health. In February, students will have a chance to strut their stuff at their quarterly social event, Steppin’ in Pinstripes and Fishnets, a cabaret at The Hut in Pineville.

For more information visit www.purplecharlottesteppers.com. The full 2008 class schedule will be on the website beginning Dec. 17.

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