As part of April’s Works Dance Residency, thestudio@620 has an up-close and virtual conversation Friday evening with Deisha A. King, a dancer and choreographer with Alex Jones’ Project Alchemy. She’s also the Community Outreach Instructor at Patel Conservatory, part of the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts.
King came to Tampa from Fort Lauderdale to attend the University of South Florida, where she received a BFA in Dance in 2018. She spent two years performing with Tampa City Ballet, and with that organization – along with Project Alchemy – she performed in St. Petersburg at both thestudio@620 and the Palladium Theater.
Her work at Patel takes King to area schools and community organizations as a dance instructor. “Even when I was a kid, at our recitals, I was always interested in helping the other girls,” she says. “A lot of the time, I would actually be the one out there helping them do the dance. So as a little girl I wanted to always be of service any way that I could. And I feel like dance has always been the vehicle for me to do that.
“I was already working at the Straz at the same time I was with Tampa City Ballet. I was dancing professionally and teaching. So it was kinda like ‘Why not do both? I don’t feel like I have to choose.’”
For her Senior Advocacy Project art USF, King mentored third- and fourth-grade girls at a private Catholic School in Tampa.
Through the Straz Center, she’s currently working with the Veteran Civilian Dance Ensemble, an all-ages group of veterans and civilians who’ll perform in May on the Riverwalk Stage.
“They’ve been able to use dance as a healing modality,” King explains. “They created different projects in reflection of some of the things they’d talked about in other sessions.
“So now is the time when we come together and we create, we take class and we move together.”
It’s free to watch Friday’s 8 p.m. virtual conversation, on thestudio’s Facebook page, although donations will be gratefully accepted.
“It’s a conversation with Alex and myself, about my journey as a dancer, and what I’m doing currently career-wise because of the pandemic. That’s a whole lot to talk about.”