DJ1A83741

History of Stepping

Stepping or step-dancing is a form of percussive dance in which the participant’s entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps. Although stepping can be performed individually, it is generally performed by groups of three or more, often in arrangements that resemble military formations.

Stepping may also draw from elements of gymnastics, tap dance, marching, African and Caribbean dance, and/or include semi-dangerous stunts as a part of individual routines. Some forms of stepping include the use of props, such as canes, rhythm sticks and/or fire and blindfolds. The tradition of African American stepping is rooted within the competitive schoolyard song and dance rituals practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities, beginning in the mid-1900s.

African American stepping finds its origins in a combination of military close-order, exhibition drill and African foot dances such as the Welly “gumboot” dance. It also originally drew heavily from the stage routines and movements of popular R&B groups such as the Temptations and The Four Tops.

During the mid-20th century, traditionally Black fraternities and sororities on United States college campuses traditionally sang and chanted to celebrate “crossing over” into membership of their respective organizations.

Popularized by National Pan-Hellenic Council member organizations who perform at local and national competitions, stepping has been featured in films and shows such as School Daze (1988), Mac and Me (1988), Drumline (2002), Stomp the Yard (2007), and the following TV series: A Different World, Sister Sister, Seinfeld, and Cheers. Stepping is also performed by groups in schools, churches, cheerleading squads and drill teams.

Today there are multi-cultural fraternities and sororities embracing the tradition of stepping. One of the first Latino organizations to embrace stepping was Lambda Sigma Upsilon Fraternity. The first Latina sorority to embrace stepping was Chi Upsilon Sigma Sorority.

Meet The Team

Seye Charles
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Seye Charles

Executive Director
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While attending Rider University, Mr. Charles cultivated his stepping skills as a memberof Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. A New Jersey native and former Step Master ofDem Boyz Step Team, Mr. Charles led Dem Boyz to numerous Step CompetitionChampionships, including the First Annual “Stomp the Yard” Super Stomp National StepCompetition in 2006, which aired on ESPN 2. America’s top ranked step team, underthe leadership of Mr. Charles, was also featured in Sony Pictures 2007 smash blockbuster hit movie, Stomp the Yard and Paramount Pictures, How She Move, the NFL’sAnnual Gridiron Gala featuring the JB Awards, several daytime television showssuch as Good Day New York, Live with Regis and Kelly and ESPN’s Cold Pizza. For Charles, stepping is much more than a crowd-pleasing dance routine. With itsroots in African Dance, this increasingly popular art form is his connection to his past,a past rich with beauty, culture, and strength. Using his body as an instrument, Charleshas mastered the “Art of Step”, but he is not stopping there. In an effort to give back tothe community, this innovative young talent began his own After School Program forteens, where he and other volunteers mentor and instruct stepping to urban youths. In 2007, he wasinstrumental in organizing the first annual High School Step Team Competition in NewJersey, which paved the way for the New Jersey Step Association. Stepping is a skillthat takes both talent and dedication. Mr. Charles exhibits an abundance of both and anenthusiasm that is supreme. This phenomenon known as stepping is ever evolving; Mr.Charles intends to do the same.
Tricia Grinnell
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Tricia Grinnell

Director of Operations
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Keisha Holmes-McKivor
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Keisha Holmes-McKivor

Board of Directors
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Keisha provides Clinical Operational support as (CRA) to one of the top Pharmaceutical companies on the Northeast; working in the industry for over 17 years. A devoted wife of 4 years, a mother of three girls ranging in the age of 26 to 13 and one dog. Keisha is a native New Yorker. She received her Masters Degree in Communications/Training and development. Keisha developed a strong sense of devotion for the nonprofit sector as a beneficiary of the Team Step Up program in the state of New Jersey. This program has given her a deep appreciation for how nonprofits seek to improve the quality of life for our children.
Annette M. Brown-Bennett
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Annette M. Brown-Bennett

Board of Directors
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Annette Brown-Bennett is a Family Service Supervisor for the Essex County Dept. of Welfare in East Orange, New Jersey since 2009. Annette is a graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she received a BS degree in Forensic Psychology. Annette also has a Family Service Worker Certification from Rutgers-Newark.After graduation Annette worked for several companies before starting a career of 20 years with FedEx. Annette was a manager for 17 years before retiring in 2004.Annette has been married for 28 years and is the mother of 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl; she also has a grandson.Annette has been a member of several parent committees since 1995. Annette was the liaison and handles all paperwork for Pop-warner football and Orange Recreation dept. Annette served on the Parent committees for Flamingo Drill of Union and St. Joseph of East Orange Boys Basketball. Annette’s children attended Paramus Catholic high school in Paramus where she served as President, Vice President and Treasurer for the Touchdown Club, the Boys Basketball team and the Step Team. Annette also served on the Lafayette College Football Parent Organization.Participating in these organizations and her work experience is where Annette developed her skills of planning, organizing, time management and leadership.

-Caitlin Fair-
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-Caitlin Fair-

Step Instructor
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Caitlin Fair is a Trenton native and has been stepping for over 10 years. She began stepping in high school, where she stepped with the George School RnB steppers for 4 years. She continued stepping when she entered college at The College of New Jersey and became a sister of Lambda Tau Omega Sorority, Inc. Caitlin was a member of both the Lambda Tau Omega National Stroll Team and the Lambda Tau Omega National Step Team, where she competed against other Greek organizations with her team. Additionally, Caitlin has been working with teens and children for over 15 years, including coaching cheerleading at George School for several years, acting as the faculty sponsor for the RnB Step Team, and coaching step at Chapin School. Caitlin remains active through step and dance, and particularly loves taking Salsa classes on the weekends.
-Monique Bean-
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-Monique Bean-

Step Instructor
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Monique McBean is a Rutgers University alum where she pursued a dual degree in Philosophy and Psychology.  Her work experience for the past few years has focused on youth enrichment and mentoring​. She is devoted to making sure that she positively impacts the lives of those that she meets.  Monique joined forces with Teens Step Up Inc. in 2012 as the instructor for the Paterson Division and has made valuable contributions.  She has been stepping for over 10 years and possesses her own unique style and flare.  Since coming on board she’s watched the organization grow to new dimensions in innumerable ways.  Monique has an interest in pursuing a career in the legal profession and is definitely taking steps in the right direction.
-Bianca Bennett
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-Bianca Bennett

Step Instructor
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Bianca Bennett is a native of Orange, New Jersey. She has been working with Teens Step Up, Inc. since March 2014. Bianca has an extensive step background of 10+ years. She has stepped with Paramus Catholic's "R U Crazy" Step Team, Catastrophic Step Team of Orange, New Jersey and University of New Haven's Elite Step Team. She has also coached Demolition Step Team of Elizabeth, New Jersey and now coaches​ Paulo Freire Charter School's "The Bomb Squad" Step Team of Newark, New Jersey.​Ms. Bennett has won many championships and 1st place titles throughout her step career. It is very important for her to dedicate, coach, lead, mentor and impact our youth by building character with hopes to pay it forward.