I’m very excited to share this new interview with Clayton aka “C-Bass” of StepxStepDance with you all. Clayton is a major factor in the dance community with his website StepxStepDance, which serves as a voice for today’s hip hop culture, as well as a support system for dancers. SxS is one of very few websites supporting dancers, culture, hip hop, and giving people a place to belong (community).
On a personal level, Clayton is one of those rare individuals who aren’t afraid of being who they are, and staying true to what they believe in. (Realness is a hard quality to find nowadays). These are the traits of someone with a passion for what they do. In our recent interview, Clayton discusses how SxS began, his advice for dancers, which bboys/poppers he likes, and much more.
*Warning* – This interview contains inspiring messages, intended only for those who dare to follow their dreams.
When did you start StepxStepDance? What inspired you to start it?
Originally, SxS was a dream of mine to drive across America and shoot a mini-documentary on my way to SYTYCD auditions in Atlanta last year! I wanted to contact studios and dancers along the way and tell the real story of what drives dancers! Also, I had a goal to raise $1,000 for the Dizzy Feet Foundation and donate it when I auditioned, which no one had ever done! That was January/February 2011 and I didn’t make my goal so I scrapped the idea, but kept the blog!
Around the beginning of June, I was doing a lot of research on street dance and realized there weren’t a lot of websites covering the real dreams of dancers around the world, of all street dance styles and Hip Hop culture! For me, I learned about the real Hip Hop culture and the various street dance styles in my small college town in Idaho! I grew up in San Diego, but never exposed myself to it there, something I wish I had done! When I learned about the actual culture and street dance styles, I instantly wanted to erase the negative ideas people have from media and some commercial outlets! I started throwing dance battles, classes, and more with friends at school! If it wasn’t for those friends, experiences, and events in that small town–I would not be where I am at with SxS. There’s amazing dancers everywhere in the world, not just in LA, Paris, Tokyo, but in Pocatello, Idaho — countryside of the UK — the streets of India, we just have to give everyone a chance to let their talents be seen!!
I’ve watched your dance videos and noticed your use of comedy; would you say that’s your signature style of dance?
Ya know, I would definitely say its part of my many flavors! I am naturally a happy-go-lucky and random person! I love laughing, and I love making people laugh! I think every dancer, obviously, adds their own element of their personality which is a whole part of the process of finding your style! Life is all about progressing from babies to adulthood, and through many different experiences we come to find out who we are! As a dancer, I’ve added that flavor to my dancing because I think you should always be who you are in every setting! I love working the music and the lyrics. If it’s a song where I go hard and serious than I do that, but maybe at the end I’ll throw a little comedy in there!
What do you feel is missing in today’s Urban Dance Scene?
Wooo! I feel there is a lot missing and it falls mostly on knowledge that the new generation has not sought out from the OG’s. In some ways I think for some kids it’s tough to find the opportunities, but we have everything readily available at our fingertips with technology. I know most OG’s love talking the history of the dances and how it evolved from there! We were at Mr. Wiggles class at The Jukebox in Gilbert, AZ, and I remember coming out of his class wanting to learn more about music, the 70’s hip hop scene, the dances, and so much more! Most importantly it’s about respecting the originators, the music, the history, and spreading the knowledge! As Poe One says, “Each One Teach One!”
It’s time to flip the script on you man! If you were stuck on a desert island with only one album
to dance to, which would it be?
Thriller! No diggity, no doubt! That album from start to finish had so many different moods and feelings! I honestly believe it is the greatest album ever! I was talking about this with some friends the other day about how MJ could be played anywhere and every person has an experience! You could walk into a biker bar and MJ would be playing and they would all be singing along I bet! Let’s be honest, have you EVER heard anyone say they didn’t like Michael’s music?! I haven’t! Thriller would be my album!
As a Street Dance Blogger, who’s that one person you dream of interviewing for your site?
It would have been Michael Jackson, and I would have met him too! I had tickets to the This Is It show in London for December 27, 2010 and my best friend Joshua Mack knew a lot of people around MJ. A few months after his death, Josh told me we were gonna do a meet & greet! I’ll meet him after this life!
So currently, there are quite a few, but I would like to interview Lil Saint from You Got Served! haha just kidding! Recently, my dance icons from coming up after high school like Mr. Wiggles, Shane Sparks, Crumbs, and more I have been able to interview! I know on my bucket list item is Justin Timberlake, I really feel like, even though its not necessarily underground, I would want to interview JT! Other than that, I will be meeting Travis Payne and interviewing him very soon! I think being that close to MJ through another person would be amazing!
What goals do you have for your site StepxStepDance?
So many! We have started to structure more as a Media (Blog, Video Content), Events (Workshops, Battles, Performances), Education (To Be Announced Soon), and Brand (Clothing, Shoes, and more). Covering dancers from all over the world and giving a voice to the street dancers! Eventually, the long term goal is to do this as a full-time job and support a family in my future! I want to open up a Juste Debout type school in the US! Also we are working on a huge convention event for 2013 or 2014. Time to bring it all back to the US!
Who’s your favorite Popper? Bboy?
Bboy’s: Man theres a few bboys who have shaped my tenacity: Do-Knock, Crumbs, Roxrite, Freak, Jeromeskee, and my homeboy Morris
Rising Bboys: Out of Phoenix I really like Case-One(RSC), Master Mace (FSC), Slink, and my GroundHounds Crew (Utah)
Poppers: Too many to name – Salah, Bionic, Kite, Poppin Pete, EB’s, Midnight, Bop N’ Andre
Rising Poppers: Spazm, D.O.C., Slim Fly, Butter, Ensoul (Utah), so many more to name.
A lot of people are stepping their games up and I give respect to everyone!
What can people expect from the video side of StepxStepDance?
Cats and Pigs doing bboying as well as some waacking! We really feel cats and pigs don’t get the exposure they need in the scene! Stop hatin! haha just kidding! We want to get more into mini-documentaries as well as highlighting dancers in some concept videos! I will let Jacob Rosen take this over because he is the one that did the Laurent Interview, Babywockee Promo, and recently my Freestyle Video – “Lights Will Guide You Home.” We want to share the voice of a number of different styles out there! And we will continue interviewing dancers and telling their stories!
What advice would you give to up and coming dancers?
FEEL THE MUSIC! #1 the music is where it all starts and the music is where it all ends, so once you can study all types of music, feel the different sounds, and add that to your effort in perfecting moves, you are going to progress. Stop concentrating on the moves or only winning a battle, if you worry about that too much you will always be living in the past and you wont be helping others grow! Now its totally fine to have the goal of coming out #1, but don’t disrespect the lessons that can come from doing your best and helping others grow in dance. Just go in with a mindset to feel the music, aim to achieve your goals, and share in the experience with others!
As far as life, find a foundation! If it’s God, then that should be #1! If you don’t believe in a higher power, thats fine, then start a foundation of inner peace with yourself, and that can be with family, friends, or just the passion of dance! Be you, don’t be anyone else…I spent too many days in high school trying to be somebody else and it took me a while to find myself, I’m still learning! Follow your passion, give service to others, be the person who lifts others up, and use that in all you do with dance! My favorite quote is this:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Any final shout outs?
Just want to give a HUGE shout out to Gabriel, thank you so much man for all the support and the great conversations. I feel like we are here at the same moment and same time, doing the things we need too for the culture and community! It’s a real honor to have met you and so many other people (too long of a list to mention), but it’s important that we all help each other on our individual journeys for the same purpose of sharing the skill and talent of dance! Keep On Step’n!