June 19, 2024


Life is art

On pointe: At Gravity Dance Company, Miss Q strives to teach dance and life skills

Shiquita Sargent, operator, moves throughout the dance floor as she instructs her pupils at the Gravity Dance Enterprise in Long Beach front Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Shiquita Sargent is as self-confident as they come—and with very good reason.

The 35-yr-outdated has prevail over a amount of obstacles in her younger life. At her dance studio, Gravity Dance Company in Bixby Knolls, Sargent aims to train her college students the same grit, perseverance and enjoy for dance that has carried her by tricky situations.

Three several years ago, Sargent defeat cancer—twice. Beating the sickness gave her a new outlook on daily life and even more motivation to move the daily life classes she acquired together the way on to her younger disciples, particularly through a time as challenging as the earlier 12 months.

“It’s improved the way that I reside my life,” the trainer, dancer and artwork director mentioned. “I are living with an abundance of love and joy every single one working day. I wake up just so grateful.”

When the coronavirus pandemic hit and she had to shutter her college temporarily, Sargent stated she felt a depression creep in that she hadn’t experienced because she was initially diagnosed with cervical most cancers in 2017.

“I bear in mind, one evening, I could not snooze. I was so up in arms about the point that I wasn’t residing my artwork, it started to definitely, really impact me.” She was concerned her pupils would truly feel the similar. “Some of these small children depend so seriously on dance. It is their form of expression.”

Shiquita Sargent, proprietor, allows a college student as a result of stretches as they heat up at the Gravity Dance Organization in Extended Seashore Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Photograph by Thomas R. Cordova.

So she received artistic and began training virtual courses in the course of the 1st months of the pandemic. “We hosted dance classes on line, a few days a week, and the little ones had been all in their kitchens, their garages, their bedrooms—it was just wonderful, the way we banded jointly,” Sargent mentioned. Afterwards, she transitioned to outside lessons at Signal Hill’s Hilltop Park.

Ivory Blockmon, the mother of a single of Sargent’s learners, explained the camaraderie of the team and the care “Miss Q”—as she is normally referred to as by her students—has for each single baby in her faculty, has built a long lasting impact on her 9-12 months-previous daughter’s lifestyle.

“The enjoy she has for my daughter, the drive, the push—her electricity is terrific,” Blockmon mentioned.

Immediately after currently being bullied at college, Blockmon’s daughter Kalani, who was 6 at the time, turned inward, seldom speaking or participating with the exterior entire world.

All that altered when she entered Gravity Dance Firm three several years ago. “Miss Q and the other individuals there brought her again to dwell,” Blockmon claimed. “The way she teaches them how to really like 1 one more and stick with each other, it actually helped her get improved with individuals.”

Demonstrating her students that another person outside the house of their quick relatives values and appreciates them, that they have anyone in their corner, is an significant aspect of her role as a instructor, Sargent explained.

“For them to see anyone outside the house of their relatives unit staying so invested in them, in their lifestyle, that does a ton. It shows them that they can have confidence in, exhibits them that folks care,” she reported.

Shiquita Sargent, operator, teaches her pupils a pirouette when at the Gravity Dance Organization in Lengthy Seashore Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Picture by Thomas R. Cordova.

The seed for what would become Sargent’s one of a kind and personalized instructing method was planted early on by her mom, a social employee who raised two youngsters on her individual.

“My childhood knowledge, the way I grew up, I use all of that to these children, due to the fact they are going to require it,” she said.

That involves her very own knowledge of having difficulties with her id as a Black female attending a predominantly White elementary college in Belmont Park.

“A lot of individuals little ones experienced in no way definitely been about Black college students or Black persons,” she remembers. Issues about her hair, her title, her one-mom, made her feel uneasy in the business of her peers at university.

But back at property on the Eastside, she also uncovered herself fitting in a lot less and fewer.

“It was very hard working with that at university and then coming dwelling and not becoming Black adequate for the little ones on the block,” she mentioned. “It definitely gave me id concerns.”

At Gravity, Sargent claimed she’s aiming to make a secure area wherever her college students, a broad vast majority of whom are Black, can really feel a feeling of belonging.

“I experience like my occupation is to definitely prepare them for the earth,” she claimed. “I want them to be the ideal attainable variation of by themselves.”