A Chicago Footwork routine wins Dancing With the Stars

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IG Ian Shumpert
Written by Annie Parker

The trophy-worthy routine marks an important moment for the underground Chicago genre.

NBA star and Chicago-area native, Iman Shumpert, and his partner, Daniella Karagach, brought home the trophy from the Dancing With the Stars finale last week (23rd November).

Forgoing the competition’s focus on traditional ballroom and classic dance, Shumpert opted to pay tribute to his Illinois heritage by performing a routine almost entirely composed of dancemoves taken from Chicago footwork. The duo performed the lightning-fast movements which are inherent to the dance style to a medley of songs including Missy Elliott’s Lose Control and a track from one of the genre’s pioneers, DJ Clent.

Following the performance, Shumpert told an interviewer that he called on renowned footwork choreographer, King Kemo, and flew him in from Chicago to ensure that the routine was as authentic as possible. 


For King Kemo, as well as many others who took to Twitter to express their excitement, the appearance of the footwork genre – both aural and physical – on national television marks an incredibly important moment for the underground Chicago genre.

In an interview with a digital media platform that aims to reshape the narrative of Black Chicago, Tribe, Kemo claimed: ‘It’s monumental. It’s so monumental for me because I’ve been doing this for so long, you know […] Like, man, I done been through so much in this culture. So many No’s. So many doors slammed in my face. So many times where people just thought Chicago footwork was dead. I’m always just pushing it.’


Bounce, one the most well-known footwork tracks from the genre’s co-pioneer, DJ Clent, was released in 2010 on the 47-track LP, 100% Ghetto 4