July 2009

Tastemakers 2009 Fatima Robinson

by Raha Lewis / produced by Mayer Rus / portrait by Peden + Munk

Fatima Robinson Robinson didn’t dream of stardom as a teen—she was too busy rocking the hottest Hollywood clubs with her spellbinding dance moves. And pursuing her passion turned out to be a good move: Directors and artists in the dance world quickly discovered her talent, and Robinson went on to choreograph for the likes of Michael Jackson, the Black Eyed Peas, Gap, the Oscars and Dreamgirls. Success is nice, to be sure, but for Robinson, the real thrill is staying in touch with vibrant young dancers. One of the places they flock to is her aptly named dance studio, Foresight—“because it’s always looking ahead,” she says. Robinson throws dance parties for kids age 16 to 18 who come from “the hood and Hollywood, rich and poor.” There is “no drama at the door”—everyone is welcome, money doesn’t matter and creativity is king.

While the kids dance, Robinson watches. Recently her protégé Charm introduced her to new music by emerging artists Y.G. and the Rejects, which became the soundtrack to an evolving new urban dance style called jerkin—for want of a better description, think of a fluid side-to-side motion with bent knees. And thus, Fatima’s studio became an incubator for the jerk movement sweeping the country. You can find a lens into Robinson’s world—what inspires her and the up-and-coming artists she’s following—on her Website, whatdoyoudance.com.