[7/28/2013 Chicago Steppin In Memphis]

Started From Da Bottom

By Shirley Floyd #steppinmemphis
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STEPPIN "N" PARADISE - 2013 An Event that has gone from GOOD to GREAT!

Well, I am still trying to recover from one of the GREATEST events of 2013 that left me scratching my head, last weekend. I did not believe the committee could top last year's event. However, they proved me wrong.

The Smooth Steppers of Memphis hosted its 4th Annual Steppin "N" Paradise Ball, Friday, July 19-21, 2013; hosting at least 400 Steppers from various cities. The committee kicked off the event with what I called their motto, "Started from Da Bottom", for this year's Steppin "N" Paradise (SIP). In my opinion, starting at the bottom means that you are, in most cases, under funded, under prepared but enthusiastic about what you're attempting to do. The type of support needed for the first several years has to come from "the trenches".

SIP committee had to start from the bottom to get to where they are now, and have made it against all odds.

This year's event was exactly what I was imagining in my mind � only better and more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. Needless to say, I am convinced that this was the best Steppin "N" Paradise of all four years. The event was absolutely breath-taking. The team definitely knows what they are doing when it comes to making an event a success.

What made the event successful? I would say the people who were in attendance, the food and drinks they consumed, and their actions after the event. It was a variety of success factors, but primarily, it's what the team did before the event that had the most impact on its success. The most important success factor, in my opinion, was Paradise's production team as well as vendors, volunteers and front-line registration staff. The team had the incredible responsibility of executing event details and servicing the guests.

Friday Night was "Rep Yo City" in T-Shirts. There were some of the most beautiful Tees I had ever seen, worn by guests from various cities. There were many styles and colors, wonderfully designed, and visible all over the building. My intentions are not to be bias, but Memphis T-Shirts were the BOMB; customized, black with silver and hot pink rhinestones with Paradise's motto, "Started from Da Bottom", on the front of them. Check it out as you view the beautiful pictures.

Saturday Workshops was well attended, packed from wall to wall. However, students were divided into groups and each group was shown and explained different techniques. Everything you needed to enhance your dance skill level was offered during the workshops; Beginners, Advanced, Walking, and Combination/Turns and Spins. As always, the ladies outnumbered the men.

How many times have you seen very knowledgeable instructors teach in the most boring style? Should learning the dance be boring at all? I think not, Steppin should be fun. The instructors were far from boring. They were innovative and creative, which made the students want to learn more. They did a fantastic job making sure the students were given what they needed in order to perform at their level or take their dance to the next level on the dance floor. Thumbs-Up to the instructors; Keith "The Navigator" Hubbard, Michael "Westside Mike" Bush, and Memphis' very own, Patrick Moore.

Saturday's Main Event was "Primetime" and could have been a tremendous ratings success for NBC. Prior to dancing we had the opportunity to really experience Paradise with a "Top-Notch Reception" that took place in the outer area of the main ballroom, where we mingled, talked and relaxed until the party began. It included a cash bar, hors d'oeuvre served by waiters ("butler-style"), and drinks.

The main attraction of the reception and LAWD, my absolute favorite moment of the entire weekend were this HANDSOME young man with impressive ripped abs to admire as he greeted me and placed my Lei around my neck. I promise the committee had him there just for me�Well�maybe not just for me�lol. You talk about the affects he had on the ladies as he presented them with their Lei upon arrival. I observed one female guest who almost had a fainting spell when she glanced at him as she stepped off the elevator. She proceeded to pull out her fan to cool-down her body temperature. lol. For the men, there stood this GORGEOUS chocolate, fine, young sexy and attractive model, with a figure every woman would love to have, who draped their neck with beautiful Leis.

I'm sure that there are some of us who are still drooling and when I say drooling I mean absolutely mouth-dripping wide drooling over those two super models. They are definitely one to look up to especially if you're an aspiring model. Team, I truly praise your creativity and hard work for making that attraction apart of the event and memorable for everyone in attendance.

As we entered the main ballroom, the room itself could have easily acquired the rights to a Primetime Slot on any National Television. To sum it up; it looked exquisite and extremely beautiful, romantic, elegant, stunning, and incredible. The staff transformed the room into an explosion of tasteful decorations with an elegant touch. One thing that caught my attention was the centerpieces. Never underestimate the power of a centerpiece. It added elegance and personality to the table setting.

Knowing the team's personalities, it was a reflection and extension of them, what they are and what they love. They pride themselves on always going the extra mile to make each and every event unique. They are, no doubt, the best at what they do. The guest could not stop talking about how beautiful it was, and there were so many compliments.

The Food was "mmmm good", extravagant and exceptionally delicious. You can say it was a super-deluxe, elegant meal that everyone enjoyed. Especially those seated at my table, who talked about how tasty it was. The food was definitely a main attraction, visually appealing and a hit.

Every committee wants their guests to have the time of their lives; dancing. The guests danced all night long. How was it possible? The team chose a great DJ, Myron "The R" Robinson. One whom the committee has confidence in and trusted his judgment. His music kept the dance floor packed and there were plenty room for dancing. The facility was equipped with two large dance floors. We had "a fabulously good time".

The Emcee for the weekend was none other than Keith "The Navigator" Hubbard. He kept the party fun-filled and rocking all weekend. He followed the doctor's orders and gave us exactly what we needed; laughter. It's good for your health and relieves stress. Wow - a stress-free Steppers' Set -- was exactly what we had. Throughout the weekend, I observed Keith to be humble and with an awesome spirit. In my opinion, one thing that had a big impact on the event was that he was always upbeat and positive, and with the best kind of humor. The energy level in the room was at an all time high. Shout out to one of the GREATEST Emcees.

The Farewell Brunch was nothing but "Outrageous Fun". A large number of steppers didn't pack to leave. Instead, they stayed a bit longer for a little more fun and some food and drinks before they were on their way. It was pretty hard to leave Paradise; where the music was jamming, everything was on point, beautiful hotel, everywhere decorated to a high standard, great food, and excellent service. It was an unforgettable fun weekend. You know what they say, first impressions are everything.

In the theater when you do a really good job on stage (or backstage, even), you deserve to go "take a bow" after the show ends. Smooth Steppers of Memphis, "TAKE A BOW", accept the adulation and cheers, for your great work from the audience/the Steppers, that you have worked so hard for. You are truly recognized and appreciated. Steppers, CLAP with me and let's give the Smooth Steppers of Memphis a Standing Ovation. Thank you so much for everything and I could not have imagined anything better.

See Shirley's photos from this year's event..


Last Column:
Steppin N Paradise!

Memphis: An Event that has gone from GOOD to GREAT!


July 2013 is a very special month as it marks the 4th Annual Steppin N Paradise Ball, hosted by the Smooth Steppers of Memphis, Friday July 19-20, 2013.

I feel that the event is such that it merits a few words about its previous years since inception, and particular about those who are responsible for establishing the principles and policies under which we have, and continue to operate. I don't think the team had any idea as to where the road would eventually lead, but with great expectations and considerable passion, each year has been an unforgettable event.

I must say that last year was the absolute BEST. It was one of the most successful events I have ever attended. Let's look at a brief synopsis of last year, and I'm not conveying or expressing my feeling because I am a Memphian and a part of this grand occasion, but due to the exceptional customer service skills and professionalism of the committee.



        Steppin N Paradise! Started From Da Bottom