Posting Date: January 22, 2014
Meet Quiana Bello
By Keaton Lamle
photo by Shane McDonald
Quiana Bello is a promising young dancer currently in her senior year as a dance major at Kennesaw State University. While Quiana currently enjoys the ability to spread her joy through modern dance, the opportunity to do so was nearly taken from her at an early age, when financial constraints forced Quiana’s single mother to discontinue her dance lessons.
Upon finding herself able to pursue dancing again years later at Starr’s Mill High School in Fayetteville, GA, the 21-year-old senior says that she realized there was nothing she would rather do for the rest of her life. Quiana explains that, as she searched her soul, she realized, “the universe is so vast and brilliant and magnificent, which led me to ask myself what I could do, as one individual person, to contribute and spread all this positive energy into the people around me.” She made her decision and enrolled in the dance program at Kennesaw State.
A self-described “hyper and eccentric” child, Quiana believes that in many ways, societies suppress creative processes and ways of thinking. She describes the refreshing freedom she felt upon entering her freshman year: “Things were suppressive when I grew up in school, until I came here to Kennesaw, where it’s okay to have an imagination and to think of really crazy ideas and for them to sometimes fail. I feel like I’m not being judged.”
This freedom has fostered her creative spirit and, as a result, Quiana has thrived in the Department of Dance. Director of Lighting, David Tatu, corroborates, stating: “Quiana’s ability to learn new skills and take on ever increasing responsibilities has made her a valuable asset to the department. She will be very hard to replace when she graduates at year end.”
She doesn’t take her ability or opportunities for granted; she explains that her time in the program and her interactions with the faculty have inspired her to help others. “There are so many students whose parents may have split up, like mine did. Maybe these kids are good artistically and want to pursue it, but have no idea how to support themselves financially. Maybe I could reach someone, or help someone find his or her way, like I did. I’ve felt like I have had more companionship through dancing than I did during the times that I wasn’t dancing.”
Quiana has carried this spirit into her curriculum-required senior project. Charged with the task of putting her talents to work, Quiana settled on a community research project that will work with Atlanta dance troupe, gloATL, to benefit a non-profit organization, Project Single Moms. She explains, “What I want to do is a site-specific work with a musician, an artist, or a choreographer, for this organization. Project Single Moms provides scholarships for single moms with two or more children. I want to raise money for those families to keep their kids in extracurricular activities, because growing up, I know my mom couldn’t afford it.”
In the future, Quiana plans to follow these two familiar callings: Dancing and philanthropy. She mentions the possibility of moving to New York to dance and teach dance to underprivileged children. Regardless of the path she takes, it is clear that the same factor motivates both her dancing and her giving: a desire to share her joy.
Keaton Lamle is a MAPW teaching assistant at Kennesaw State University. Follow him on twitter @keatonkristofer.