We had the good fortune of connecting with Quentin Sledge and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Quentin, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
The story of how I ended up as a professional dance artist is a long and unexpected one but was ultimately driven by my desire to do what I loved. As a child my mom always encouraged me to follow my passions even as they changed day to day. She explained that when I was older I would have to choose a career path, one that would support me and the family I wanted. She never pushed for traditional jobs though, although I’m sure my early interest in science and law made her giddy on the inside. When I realized that I wanted to be an artist I had her full support. Armed with the wisdom of some artist mentors that I worked with I decided to attend Morehouse College to study business. It was the combination of all those wise people’s advice that made it very practical for me to follow my dreams, so it is because of them that I am successful.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am, by all meanings of the term, a renaissance man. I am an entrepreneur who currently is contracted with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, i am a painter/visual artist, writer, singer, actor, purveyor of fashion and style, reiki master, herbalist and lover of African and African Diasporan spirituality/history. I believe what sets me apart is my commitment to interlace every aspect of my life into my work. What i mean by that is that all of my research in any field of interest, be it spirituality, gender, racial inequality, dance etc., has pertinent information that informs seemingly unrelated areas of my personal interests. Put simply I look for how everything in life connects and how i can show that connection in all of my work. As a gender non-conforming, masculine presenting, polyamorous, bi-sexual, person of color i operate in a very marginalized portion of society; a portion which has presented many challenges but has also given me immense insight into the ways in which society “others” those who don’t fit the mold. My combined interest in a vast array of subjects along with my unique perspective and commitment to reclaiming the vestiges of my African heritage are ultimately what makes my work unique. i have worked successfully of the past 7.5 years primarily as a contracted dance artist and have performed both nationally and internationally. I have graced some of the most prestigious stages such as the David H. Koch Theatre in NYC Lincoln center, the Joyce theatre, also located in New York, and the famed Bolshoi theatre in Moscow Russia, to name a few. I teach contemporary African dance and Horton technique all across the country, have credits as a professional choreographer, and take many clients that seek spiritual healing/guidance.
This life has come with many challenges however. i have faced systemic racism, crippling depression, body dysmorphia, homophobia, self loathing, tremendous anxiety, sexual abuse, financial hardship and a litany of other struggles. It is actually because of these hardships that i dove into the field of alternative medicine and spiritual healing in the first place. Despite all that i have endured, i am thankful for said challenges because without them my success as an artist would be bland. It is these experiences which have opened my eyes to the ills of society and disabused me of my childhood fantasies. i have found healing in the process of decolonizing my world view, i have found connection to the source which animates me and gives me purpose through studying my ancestry, i have found ways to heal childhood trauma through art and creation, and what honestly baffles me about it all is that i’m just 29. i have learned so much about what it take to survive as an artist/entrepreneur and i have so much more to do.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
i live in Dayton Ohio and if i had friends visit i would take them to several of the beautiful parks there are in the city. Im a bit of a foodie so wed go to some of my favorite restaurants like lock 27, Old scratch pizza, and Lilly’s bistro. We would also at some point travel to either Columbus or cincinnati seeing as both are only an hour away and spend some time at their beautiful art museums and local eateries.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to shout out my mom Earnestine Sledge, Homer Hans Bryant my first dance teacher, the Alpha Gents/Gems the youth organizations I co-founded, Meredith Moore, Daryl Foster, and Debbie Blunden Diggs for giving me an opportunity to dance with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.
Facebook: quentin apollovaughn sledge
Scott Robbins-Geek with a lens Angela Burdon