IOWA CITY — As this year’s M.C. Ginsberg Artist in Residence, King-Edqux Robinson is dancing his way through Iowa City’s schools.
Every week, Robinson is visiting with third and fourth grade classes in the district. He meets twice with each class for about an hour apiece.
“The first session I focus on asking questions, getting them talking about dance, asking them what is dance to them, what can dance be used for, why do people dance, just to get them thinking critically about it,” Robinson said. “Often it’s just like, ‘oh you know, dance is a fun thing that you do on the side,’ and people don’t think really think about it as a concrete thing that can affect a lot of people in a profound type of way.”
By the second session, Robinson has the students following choreography and creating their own routines.
“I expect them to be giving me a certain amount of energy and putting their own personality into things,” Robinson said. “We talk about personality a lot, making sure you make things your own.”
Robinson only is 22 years old, but he has been dancing for years. The Chicago native started dancing in church when he was a child. His favorite style is hip-hop.
He majored in dance at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., and moved to Iowa City after graduating because his mother had relocated to the area. He has worked at the Dream Center in Iowa City, and jumped at the opportunity to teach in the school district.
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“When they get older they can say, ‘oh we need to put dance in the schools because this is such a useful thing,” Robinson said. “I hope that I can show them the benefits of dance in more than one way, so they see a future in it when they get older.”
Robinson said he hopes through dance, students can find more courage to be themselves in front of others, and be less shy or reserved. He also said he’s been surprised by the reception he’s received.
“I didn’t expect to get so much positivity from the kids. I thought I would have to be pulling teeth a little bit,” Robinson said. “But they’re all so excited to dance, and they all give me such an easy time really, because they love it so much.”
Robinson said he hopes to continue teaching and eventually own his own studio.
“I want Iowa City to be able to experience dance on a whole other level.”