The Steppers Café Celebrates Its 4th Anniversary Back

May 13, 2014

By Tracey Bivens


Detroit can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that it has two official steppers set that take place every week. One…of course…is Jeff Clark’s I Love Steppin Steppers set at Firewater Bar & Grill II on Saturdays and the other is Bobby Green’s Steppers’ Café, every Wednesday at the Southfield Family Therapy Center in Southfield. On Friday night, approximately 200 steppers from Michigan and Ohio were brought to St. George’s Cathedral to recognize the development of this project.


In 2010, upon Sherry Gordon’s recommendation, Bobby Green reached out to Freda Jenkins for help in orchestrating a weekday steppers set for the masses. Attempts at having week day sets had been made since 2004 by various groups in many locations all over the city. At this time, however, Freda Jenkins, provided the marketing strategies, food, networking, steppers and everything that Bobby Green needed to present a doable plan. Since then, Freda Jenkins has moved on to other projects in the dance world but is credited with being the 1st female steppin promoter in the city of Detroit.


DJ Steppin E and Paul Ross provided the music for the evening. Steppin E was patted on the back several times throughout the evening for his growth through the years in the steppin DJ arena. Many of us know Emile Tankersley (his real name) as a skating and Hip Hop club DJ but his high tech equipment and musical ties to Chicago have made him a shining star out of Detroit. "The Phe-mom” Nora Alexander also celebrated her birthday at the anniversary as well.


Tamera Patterson, Bobby Green’s business partner, provided assistance in food preparation, ticket sales and public relations and helped to make this evening a very classy affair.  On the Toledo end, Popeye , Shalita, and Leonard always represent at everybody’s sets.


Highlights of the evening included sit down conversations with steppin newcomer Tim McGary,  who let me know that he has "appreciated the steppin experiences and recognition” he has received thus far but is going  to "just dance and enjoy it” at the end of the day.  At the other end of the room, Versatile Productions was noticed several times. This group has such a strong cohesive bond amongst themselves that it brings back memories of dance groups from long ago. Harvey Dobbs, Dina Hardeman and company always support other organizations as a group, they are always laughing at and with each other and you will always receive a genuine greeting from each member when they are out and about. I also want to recognize Gwen Douthat. If you don’t know who she is, all you have to do is look for the long legged, slender mocha skinned woman who is one of the only women that I’ve seen rock a peach dress and turquoise platforms or a yellow dress with fushia shoes on the set. Gwen seems to have a lock on being one of the most creatively dressed steppers to ever come out of Detroit. It is always a pleasure to see Candy Prater as well. As you recall, Candy won the 2012 Beginners Category in the WLSC with Ed Donaldson.


I had to shake my head at the endless amount of energy displayed by Ed Donaldson, Kisha Nabors and Drew Alexander as they hit the floor with fast paced trios to several songs in a row. I gotta definitely give it up for their stamina and I gotta definitely step up my ginseng intake.


In the house were Darlene Mans, Derek Ross, Bonita Williams, Jeff Clark, Ann Hunter, who actually sported two different cute hairstyles in one evening), Neicy Johnson (I got it right this time _), Lynne "Ms. Cheesecake” Batten, Karen Ware, Richard "Lafontaine” Cochran (business plug), Deborah "Partypeople” Dixon, Rose McDaniel, Kishra Williams, Karen Ware, Brenda Gold, Melvin Munningham, the Big Hat Gentlemen, Stephen & Denise, The Steady Steppers and The Copacetic Steppers.


Says Bobby Green, " As a Salsa, Steppin, Tango, Bop, GrAystone instructor and promoter, I have enjoyed taking the ride with the steppers. I am probably one of the few dance instructors and promoters who has fully supported the steppers since 2003 by providing their…OUR community with workshop sites and set venues. The best is yet to come…for us all!”

I Love Steppin 11th Year Anniversary