Diverse Motions Dance Academy host annual production

BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — For five years, Diverse Motions Dance Academy has taken their audience on a journey through history and heritage through the art form of dance. Choreographed by Executive Director Gwenetta Martin and Artistic Director Marquis Floyd, they have cultivated a safe space for children in the community to flourish as artists.

A relative newcomer on the block, the Diverse Motions Dance Academy will host their annual dance production entitled “Honor our Lives” to launch their summer season of community-focused dance classes and events Saturday, June 30 at 7 p.m. in Gibbs High School auditorium.

“‘Honor Our Lives’ is a cultural production centered on highlighting black excellence, paying homage to those who have paved the way and who rejoice in life,” said Floyd. “Through dance, we focus on bringing our artistry to every aspect of our lives.”

Diverse Motions Dance Academy is also home to Kali Kali Dance Company, which began in 2009. They travel across the nation performing and competing in a variety of dance genres such as modern, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical and dancerette. The dance company was so popular that the academy grew out of the nine-year-old troupe.

While the company has racked up many grand champions and first-place trophies across the U.S., they are most known for appearing on national television twice competing on BET’s 106 & Park’s “Wild-Out Wednesday.” Thanks to the support of the city and viewers across the nation, they won both times and brought home trophies and over $5,000 in cash prizes.

As the artistic director, Floyd is tasked with developing the vision for the annual production. He is an alumnus of the Pinellas County Center for Advanced Arts program at Gibbs High School and attended the Boston Conservatory where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Throughout Floyd’s career, he’s traveled gracefully through the world of dance, training at schools such as the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and working with notable companies such as the Dance Theater of Harlem.

This year, the group worked with guest choreographers from across the United States to develop signature dances for the production, including D.C.-based choreographer Sherman Wood, a graduate of the Boston Conservatory and St. Pete native, Charles Smith, who is currently based out of New York and has worked with big names such as The Brooklynettes, rapper Briana Perry and has appeared on “Good Morning America.”

“We are a community-driven company and every year we put on a huge production for the dancers to showcase themselves in a very professional light,” said Floyd, explaining the purpose of the production. “We teach kids all styles of dance, and the key to success is versatility.”

“Honor Our Lives” dance production signifies the close of spring programming and the start of the summer season where the academy will focus on community-based classes and events that are open to the public.

This includes a summer intensive program in ballet led by the artistic director and various community-focused classes for all levels of dance, fitness and aerobics.

As a part of the academy’s focus on fitness and wellness through motion and sound, instructor Natalie Robles hosts Sensual Steps, a dance-fitness class that builds on movement and cardio geared for women of all ages. Women from all walks-of-life join as they look forward to freedom of expression, ways to network with other women and a fun way to boost their confidence while staying fit.

Holding true to its mission is to educate, develop and grow entertainers, the academy will also conduct workshops and seminars that will be open to the community. These workshops teach the business side of the entertainment industry, career skills such as professionalism, digital media, branding, technology and entrepreneurship.

Diverse Motions Dance Academy is the true story of the evolution of a small business. It began as a local dance group with no capital practicing out of community centers in south St. Pete. Today, the company has grown to a nonprofit dance academy with 60 students and counting. It is a story of talent, dedication, great leadership and support.

The company is not only developing great dancers, but they are also producing great leaders who are destined to serve the community in ways we could only imagine. Dance is just a platform for the great things they will accomplish.

Jah’ Tia Haynes contributed to this story.

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