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Meet Trailblazer Nikkina Robinson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikkina Robinson.

Nikkina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started dancing at the age of 2 and have 31 years of dance experience. I have trained in classical ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, contemporary, musical theater, modern, and African dance styles. I was a competitive dancer for more than 10 years competing on teams in the DFW area. I also have experience judging local area school dance team auditions. While in high school, I was a member of Performing Heights Dance Program, the Competitive Dance Team at Arlington Heights High School and a dancer in the Performing Heights musical production of 42nd Street. I graduated from Texas Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Science degree and have a Texas Dance Teacher Certification. I am currently the Pre-Kindergarten Teacher at Rivertree Academy in Fort Worth. While pursuing my education at Texas Wesleyan, I was the captain of the Cheerleading Squad and the Wesleyan Dance Team. I have had the opportunity to train with some of the most distinguished individuals in the entertainment industry including Debbie Allen, Dave Scott, Shane Sparks, Titus Fotso, Chloe & Maud Arnold, Ava Bernstein, Eartha Robinson, Laurieann ‘Harlee’ Gibson, Jimmy R.O. Smith, Brandon Mason, Tucker Barkley, Brandon Alexander, Matt Steffanina, Rosero McCoy, Jaimie Goodwin, Valerie Rockey, Molly Long, Brea Perdue, Tricia Miranda, Rumer Noel, Guy Groove, Judson Emery, and Gil Duldulao.

Some of my most memorable performance opportunities include: performing as the opening act for the Legendary Charlie Pride at Bass Hall (note: I was one of the first children to perform on that stage), North Central Civic Ballet productions of The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty, Sugarbowl Halftime Production with Jessica Simpson, Dallas Cowboys Halftime Shows with LeAnne Rhymes and Toby Keith, Debbie Allen’s Texas Production of Pepito’s Story, and Kids Who Care Production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. I was one of the original members of the Slightly Off Tap Company, a local Fort Worth tap dance company. Debbie Allen and Misty CopeIand are two women that have paved and are continuing to pave the way for minority women. They are my greatest inspirations in the dance entertainment industry. I currently teach private and group classes in Ballet, Contemporary, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Hip Hop, Musical Theater, and Improv classes. I have choreographed numerous competition dances, in which these competitive dance routines have received numerous awards including Elite Platinum, Platinum, High Gold, Best Costume, Judges Choice awards and several overall awards.

I have always dreamed of owning my own dance studio. After years of teaching as a dance studio teacher, I made my lifelong dream my reality. My daughter, Kylie, is the inspiration behind the name Expressive Movement Dance. The greatest reward is teaching students, watching them learn and progress as beginner dancers, and then flourishing into confident and joyful dancers. We had a blessed first debut season! I’m proud of Expressive Movement Dance’s first season and very excited about EMD’s second dance season (in a new location… around the corner 1 minute from our previous location), especially since my daughter, Kylie Simone, is an EMD dancer!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, it has not been a smooth road. As an African-American woman, it has always been a challenge for some people to truly see my talent and not judge my talent according to my ethnicity. Throughout all of my dance experiences, I knew that I could not allow those negative experiences to discourage me defeat me from striving to my reach my full potential. Financially, I knew that it would not be easy; however, I planned and saved income in order to prepare myself to be able to open my own dance studio business. Being a single mom of a toddler with a small budget was difficult. Thankfully, with much prayer, confidence in myself, and support from close family and friends, I was able to accomplish my long-term goal! I teach all day (Pre-K kiddos and dancers), but being a single mom to my daughter, Kylie, is my most rewarding experience. My family, especially Granny and Mom, assist me with my dance studio and the care of my daughter, Kylie. It is such a blessing to be able to have Kylie at my dance studio with me six days a week. She is my little “Assistant”. For any young women starting out on their journey: You can achieve what you want by gaining the knowledge and experience needed in your particular field and also preparing yourself.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Expressive Movement Dance – what should we know?
Expressive Movement Dance studio is located in White Settlement, Texas. The studio offers classes for ages 18 months through adult. We offer recreational classes for students that like to dance for fun and learn the various techniques of each dance style. For our competitive dancers, their choreography is more advanced and taught at a faster pace. I teach Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Broadway Musical (Musical Theater), Cheerleading, and Mommy & Me Expressive Movement Classes. I am also trained in African,Flamencoo, and Modern dance styles. It is great that we are able to allow God to lead our path and journey through every performance, competition, and class. I am very proud that my studio dancers and families are very diverse in age, talent abilities, and ethnicities.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
I feel that women are able to be great leaders, nurturers and loving role-models.

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Image Credit:

Nikkina Robinson, Caylea V Photography

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