Soulful Steps sheds light on this dance style’s history, evolution, and trajectory, through the lens of husband and wife team James and Jackie Rice, whose dance serves as the foundation of their romance. The birth of this dance style is due largely in part to the soulful music it uses as its backdrop. All the dances are choreographed to popular soul music. The Internet has helped the growth of the dance style’s recent explosion. Soul line dancers across the world share new variations through sites like YouTube and Vimeo. We revisit their union and explore their lives, the lives of soul line dancers, and fellow teachers. Soulful Steps culminates in their creation, the first Soul Line Dancing convention on the west coast.
James and Jackie met dancing 35 years ago. Jackie had just performed horribly on her nursing exam and planned to stay in the house for as long as humanly possible. Jackie’s girlfriends insisted on cheering her up and drug her out to the club, to dance her blues away. James had worked all day and also had no intentions of going out. He needed go home and take a shower. His friends, however, were also insistent on taking him to the club. James had a tendency to search for the “finest woman in the room.” He’d find her, talk to her, and if she responded, he was happy. If she didn’t, he was ready to go. Well, on that particular night, he spotted Jackie. He felt she definitely fit his criteria, so he made his move. She obliged, and they danced the night away. They have been dancing ever since.
After life challenges found its way into their world, they lost the opportunity to dance as much as they once had. Once the pounds started to reflect their lack of exercise, they began looking for a way to stay in shape. They tried, gyms, yoga, and walking. They found that nothing felt as good as sweating it out, and jamming on the dance floor, to their favorite rhythms. They returned to their first mutual love - dance. They began teaching friends at home. It was a way to stay in shape and socialize. Their friends loved the way they taught the dances and encouraged them to teach on a regular basis. Before long, James and Jackie had so many participants; they needed a larger facility to house their class. That was 18 years ago.
James and Jackie’s class has become more than just about dance. There is a spirit of life, which includes health and wellness that attracts people to the class. The age range of their class is from 20-year-olds to 80-year-olds. James and Jackie have a “no fault,” dance policy. Although they set the standard of each routine, there is no blame if you can’t pick up a dance step right away. It is the type of dance that is so enjoyable; you are inspired to participate at your own level.
James and Jackie’s decision to teach this class has not been easy at times. They are individually successful and have had to maintain their careers and families. James is an engineer and has gone through several corporate regime changes in his lifetime. He continues to work as an engineer presently. Jackie is a midwife. She has delivered more than five thousand babies and has recently retired. Her latest endeavor includes a venture to the east coast to oversee the delivery of their daughter’s first baby.
James and Jackie have collectively managed a blended family in the midst of all their other undertakings. Their relationship to their students is very unique. Birthdays, retirements, and even health victories are celebrated in the class. They have heard ushered students out of depression, diabetes, and many other obstacles.
We explore the depth of some of these encounters in Soulful Steps. Jackie and James plan CaliJam. CaliJam takes place Labor Day weekend, in Los Angeles, CA, in September, of 2014. CaliJam is a huge success. It brings together the country’s best soul line dance teachers and lovers of the dance style in one setting. The event offers classes, dinners, parties, and competitions. This dynamic duo exemplifies love, sexiness, kindness, joy, and togetherness in an age where everyone is seeking the answer to a successful relationship.
Their rock solid foundation in a shared spiritual belief, their shared joy of dance, and their zeal for life are the main attraction in this film. In Soulful Steps, they use dance to teach the world to love.