Best Of 2021

Best Dance Team Anniversary: Q-Kidz Dance Team

For the past 39 years, Marquicia Jones-Woods has devoted her life to the children of the West End. Born and raised in the neighborhood, Jones-Woods — known affectionately as Ms. Quicy — began her outreach when she was just a teenager. She started hosting beautification projects with the kids — painting rocks and benches, planting flowers, picking up trash — and taking them to Bible study, where they could get a free meal. Then she added in the arts, creating short plays and dances to “keep them engaged,” she says. “The dance piece took off.” Thus the Q-Kidz Dance Team was born. But it’s about more than movement. The community studio on Linn Street also offers a support system — a place where kids can get hands-on attention, positive reinforcement, even help with homework. “It’s really not about dance. It’s about providing a better life,” Jones-Woods says. Q-Kidz performs frequently locally — you’ll see them onstage at Music Hall, the Aronoff Center, in the Opening Day Parade, BLINK — and they travel across the country to cities like New York, New Orleans, Atlanta and Los Angeles to take part in (and win) dance competitions and events. Q-Kidz dancers have also been immortalized on film in the highly acclaimed 2015 indie movie The Fits. The organization will turn 40 this May. q-kidz.org.