Dynamic Status Gems dance group teaches young women about passion and confidence

The sweltering heat of the Thurgood Marshall Learning Center’s gym contrasted sharply with the early fall chill outside – dancers were losing layers and shoes as soon as they walked through the door to practice. Their voices echoed through the room as the band got ready, stretching and performing moves to the beat of a drum practice down the hall.

T’Nauzhae Robinson watched from the edge of the field as the girls raced through the sets, armed with a giant speaker for the music and her phone for the notes. Dancers, ranging from toddlers to teenagers, stopped as they ran past, talking quickly about something that happened in school or asking about moves and costumes.

Robinson started Dynamic Status Gems three years ago to give herself a change and the girls she works with a fun and productive outlet, and in doing so created a bond of sisterhood that many dancers cherish outside of practice. and competition.

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“Starting the dance team was always a dream [of mine] do something, and I wish there was something like that when I was younger,” Robinson said. “I never really had anyone to look up to other than my parents, so having someone one who is in elementary school look at me that really means a lot.”

Dynamic Status Gems are a majorette-style competitive dance group, Robinson said, that also incorporates hip-hop and praise and worship. They perform in Quad-Cities and beyond, and have placed in national competitions.

Growing up as an athlete and dancer, Robinson has plenty of experience with teams and competition. She played basketball in college before switching completely to dancing and attending the Academy of Performing Arts. His parents and many dancers were involved with the Metropolitan Youth Program drill team before it disbanded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they moved to Dynamic Status Gems.

Robinson was 21 when she started the team and said there were a lot of people who wanted to give advice without really reaching out to help. Her family has always been behind her, however, helping with choreography, costumes and finances.

Yosava Robinson, T’Nauzhae Robinson’s mother, straightened the lines and beat the counts during practice, watching with a keen eye the placement of the feet and the angle of the arched backs.

“Building a dance team is really stressful,” Robinson said. “Like no one sees the work I do behind the scenes, they only see the beautiful dance.”

Coaching the team also makes Robinson a role model for girls – both a privilege and a responsibility, she said.

Not a day goes by, practice or not, that Robinson doesn’t hear from one of the girls. The coach said they bond as a team outside of rehearsals, like sleepovers and other get-togethers, which helps them trust each other more while performing. Teenage girls may have their feuds, she joked, but they support each other.

Amiah Bester, 14, started dancing five years ago and said she was more comfortable on this team than any other. She and other dancers in the group said they learned confidence and leadership skills alongside dancing, and formed friendships that go beyond the stage.

One day, Bester hopes to start his own dance group.

“I feel like I can be myself around them without feeling uncomfortable,” Bester said. “It’s everyone, to be honest. Coach T, and the way the girls were before I arrived, I knew I was going to fit in.”

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