College student chases dream of Richmond dance studio


Richmond native Emiah Hawkins, a 25-year-old college student pursuing an undergraduate degree at Cal State-Sacramento, has an even bigger dream on her horizon — the opening of a free local dance studio for children.

Hawkins, a child development major who is minoring in counseling and dance, has performed in various professional musical shows over the years. She is continuing her training in Congolese dance at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts in Oakland, as well as at other studios. And she’d like to see Richmond youths have a chance to enhance their lives through dance.

“My goal is to create a space for children to go to regularly that will help them deal with stress, problems, or anything else going on in their life,” Hawkins said. “I would do this by opening up a space in the Richmond area for children to take free dance classes.”

Such an outlet for children would help them learn life skills and showcase their talent for the neighborhood. In pursuit of her dream, Hawkins has launched a GoFundMe! account with a current goal of $20,000.

Meanwhile, Hawkins says she will also be hosting events and dance classes, including a “$5 Dance in the Park Day” that will introduce children from 7-17 to different dance styles.