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Life & Work with Jacquinta Nelson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacquinta Nelson.

Hi Jacquinta, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.

Hi Jacquinta, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.

STEP Movement, LLC, STEP meaning Supporting Them Express their Passions Movement. Our step team is currently composed of members ages 4-19. We are an internationally ranked competitive step team and education program. Our mission is to cultivate youth in expressing their passions for community, collaboration, and creativity through the art of stepping. One of our visions is to bring the world of step to the Greater Kansas City area through education and entertainment. To accomplish this, we focus on two programs: STEP Movement as the step team, and the Step as a Movement as the curriculum.

STEP Movement, LLC’s foundation stems from my passion for the art of stepping and for the youth of my community. If you can stomp once and clap twice, we can teach you how to step for the rest of your life! Following your passion can lead to creating new doors for others. With 10 years of experience in step and developing community and collegiate step teams.

Step Movement was created after I graduated from William Jewell college in 2016. I joined City Year Kansas City, which is an AmeriCorps program that helps students fill in missing pieces of the ABCs. (Academics, Attendance, Behavior, and Coursework).

In my time working with City Year I was stationed at Ewing Marion Kauffman School. During that time, I chose to establish a club for step. I initially started with 8 young ladies who would later be known as the Magnificent 8. By the end of the year, we had 35 girls signed up to participate in our talent show. It soon became an elective for students the following school year. During our summer break I took time out to begin developing a curriculum that would dive deeper into the art of stepping.

With my departure from Ewing Marion Kauffman School in 2017, I started thinking about various ways that I could reach more students. I began partnering with different non-profit organizations. On November 2, 2017, I put my words to paper and began creating the blueprint for what now is STEP Movement. On June 2, 2018, We hosted our first tryouts. We finished with a total of 5 young ladies who were later named the Fantastic Five. They are now known and recognized as the original members for the birth of STEP Movement.

With our three core values of academics, mentorship and community service. My goal is not to just be a step team, My goal is to aid our youth in all aspects of life. As our performances increased, we had an influx of youth who wanted to join the team. As a result, we expanded our age limit to start at 4 years old, and began performing at community, school and local events.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?

We recently competed in the 2021 The World of Step International Competition directed by Chuck Maldonado, a four-time award-winning choreographer for his work with Stomp the Yard. Our performances consisted of four new routines and resulted in 11 adjudicated awards, tied for third  Place Champions, and tied for Coach of the Year. I was also allotted the opportunity to join the World of Step Coaches Council with coaches from all over the United States, Which has been nothing short of amazing.

During competition time, my focus was a little outside of coaching due to a personal situation. I was in a tragic car accident that stopped me from walking for a few months. I was uncertain about my future ability to step. However, my victory lap came to fruition on my birthday June 12th. We were able to participate in the Juneteenth Parade in Kansas City, and I was able to successfully walk the entire parade route. That experience as a whole helped me realize the role step has in my life. As a result, I realized I needed to stop working in the business realm and start focusing more on how and what I want STEP Movement to look like in the future.

In that same thought I understood that I couldn’t do this by myself. I needed help. I started learning to trust in my appointed coaching staff. STEP Movement had been my baby for so long, and I had been trying to do everything myself. It was hard for me to relinquish control. I have a total of five coaches who all hold various jobs to assist with the betterment of the team. They have all stepped up to the plate to assist me with creating the best possible outlet for our kids. Our team’s resilience is depicted in the breakdown of our logo.

Our team name is displayed in army font because it resembles discipline and precision. The boot print represents forward movement, no matter where we go we will always leave a footprint behind. There were many times where I thought about giving up, but with the help of my coaches and the ambition of our kids, I knew that quitting wasn’t an option. STEP Movement has accomplished so much in this past year. We will be competing in the World of Step competition again this upcoming spring. The World of Step community has definitely opened up my eyes to the endless possibilities that stepping has to offer and for that I am forever grateful

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?

Our organization has identified a few problems in our community that we can attempt to provide solutions. First, there is a lack of stepping outlets in the Kansas City Metro area. KC is known more or less as a drill team city. To my knowledge we are currently the only step team in the Greater Kansas City area. There is also a lack of awareness with stepping at the collegiate levels. Our affiliation with the World of Step Alliance has opened the door for us to grasp those opportunities.

With what we have gathered from working with the youth in KC We understand that there is a lack of proper outlets. With STEP Movement we want to provide our youth with the opportunities to express their creative freedoms while also teaching them how to collaborate with others to produce greatness.  We have our first graduating senior this year and we are excited to advise her on our college journey. She is an original Sporty Forty member, joined when she was in the seventh grade and has remained on the team and now holds the position of co-captain. She currently has several school offers, and we will be granting her a scholarship upon graduation.

Our team focuses strongly on academics. During the pandemic we developed the STEP Movement Learning Labs. Within this program, we worked with ten students  across various grade levels and from different schools to improve their academics. All of our students excelled in their coursework and  all grades increased significantly.  We are most proud of seeing their needs and being able to  provide the resources that allowed us to help our students succeed to the highest degree.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?

Growing up, I was a very active child. During school, I was very active in extracurricular activities including various clubs. In high school, I continued this effort while including juggling a 4.0 and being student body president. When my high school closed my 11th-grade year, I successfully transitioned to my new school while maintaining this effort. I was honored to be the graduating salutatorian.

I was recently awarded the Founder’s Award at my high school Cristo Rey Kansas City. This continued into college where I juggled 11 organizations including the creation of the Cardinal Steppers step team, working three jobs, and an internship.

My desire to remain active continues still today while I balance my ministry, career, the team, and being an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. My desire to serve has been woven into the fabric of my life since a child and will continue until the day I die.

Pricing:

Membership Monthly pricing:

  • $35 for a family of one
  • $55 for a family of two
  • $75 for a family of 3 or more

Step as a movement curriculum pricing:

  • $2,000 for a yearlong curriculum
  • Performance pricing:
  • $50 for 2 – 3 minutes
  • $75 for 4 minutes
  • $100 for 5 – 7 minutes
  • $150 for 7 – 10 minutes
  • $200 and up for 10+ minutes.
  • All performance requests are subject to team availability. Any performance requests received less than 2 weeks before the performance date are subject to a $50 fee.

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