You are reading excerpts from Andréa Spearman’s recorded conversation with Jocquese “Sir JoQ” Whitfield.
10 in 10 theme music: Bright, upbeat pop music that you may hear in a teen-centered drama series.
[Theme music plays, then fades out slightly to play in the background of the introduction]
[An animation shows a bright green background and a prominent “10” with the “0” designed to look like a clock face with the hands moving. Another “10” pops up and is nested within the original clock-face “0,” with “IN” nested inside the second “0.” Dancers’ Group’s logo is in the corner and the text beneath reads “Quick insights with the Bay Area Dance community.”]
00:01-00:59 Andréa Spearman: Welcome to 10 in 10 with Andréa Spearman where we have short and lively dialogues with our local dance community.
Jocquise Whitfield aka Sir JoQ is a dancer, choreographer, and MC from San Francisco. They have been teaching their Vogue and Tone classes since 2010. A shape-shifter, JoQ challenges assumptions of sexual identity and dance as they play with both masculine and feminine aspects. They have opened and performed alongside artists including M.I.A, Charlie XCX, Big Frida and more. They have also brought their artistry to the Stern Grove Festival, The Museum of African Diaspora, The Contemporary Jewish Museum, Levi Strauss, The New York Times, Visa and Alaska Airlines.
Welcome back everyone, this is ten in ten artist one-on-one chats. Ten questions in ten minutes. We are here with Sir JoQ.
00:59-01:00 Jocquese “Sir JoQ” Whitfield: Hello
01:00-01:01 Andréa: Welcome
01:01-01:04 JoQ: Thanks for having me.
01:04-01:06 Andréa: We’re so glad that you’re here to chat with us. So our first question is who inspires you?
01:13-01:57 JoQ: There’s a lot of people that inspire me. Honestly the women in my family inspire me. They are courageous, strong, independent beings who instilled that in me. So first shout out to my grandma, my auntie, and my mother, and also my sister. But if we’re talking about artists Pearl Primus was one of my favorite dancers. [Andrea: yes!] yes, Alvin Ailey, uh Bill T Jones, the greats. Katherine Dunham. Did I say Alvin Ailey already? Alvin Ailey again.
01:57-02:00 Andréa: Right, he’s the father.
02:00-02:30 JoQ: Right he’s the father Hello! Willy Ninja the godfather evolved. The list can go on but like honestly those dancers, those pioneers of dance, definitely inspire me still to this day. Oh and Alonzo King. Period. Yes. The pioneers of Black dance, those are my inspirations.
02:30-02:36 Andréa: Yes, agreed. So now the next few are going to be some quick questions. Dancing indoors or outdoors?
02:36-03:06 JoQ: Both. Honestly I like both but I prefer indoors just because I like that studio feel. And just you know, five, six, seven, eight, let’s get it, sweat it out. Dancing outside is cool but like it’s rough on the knees! But it’s also fun at the same time. You know, but I prefer I guess you could say indoor more than outdoor, but both, you know depending on the situation.
03:06-03:07 Andréa: Mmhm. Okay. Intricate costumes or all black?
03:11-03:28 JoQ: *laughter* Depending on the event. I personally like to wear all black in general but um I like a sickening outfit! So how about an intricate outfit that’s black?
03:28-03:30 Andréa: Yes! *laughter* I love it. What’s your more recent favorite song?
03:35-03:38 JoQ: Be Alive by Beyonce.
03:38-03:40 Andréa: Oh I don’t think I’ve listened to that one!
03:40-04:04 JoQ: It’s the song that she is nominated for an Oscar for. It is for the King Richard movie about Venus and Serena. Yes. I recently just performed that this past weekend and yes the lyrics of that song is a message for everyone but specifically us you know. So yes “Be Alive” Beyonce.
04:04-04:05 Andréa: Okay. What’s your favorite secret spot in town?
04:09-04:45 JoQ: Mmmhmm. My favorite place to go to or like a little spot that really makes me happy…There is this bar called Powerhouse and it’s like I get to see all my friends there. It’s just a cool spot where we just chill, have good drinks, like the bartenders know each other. I mean it’s like we both just be chilling and it’s just fun. It’s just a chill vibe but yes Powerhouse recently that’s been my favorite place to go to.
04:45-04:45 Andréa: What’s your favorite Bay Area institution?
04:52-05:40 JoQ: Ooh. There’s a couple, Dance Mission Theater. I’ve been dancing at that theater since I was like 15 and to now be teaching my vogue classes there is like a full circle. As well as ODC, YBCA. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts has definitely shown me ultimate love with my artistry. Those are like my top three like organizations. There’s other institutions I like but those are like my top three that really just gave me my chance and really were like “we believe in you, here you go” so yes shout out to Dance Mission, ODC, YBCA, Period.
05:40-05:43 Andréa: So those are the places where you felt supported as an artist?
05:43-06:07 JoQ: For sure. I mean there’s other places but like currently right now. Especially during this pandemic, they definitely feel like “hey, we still want you to make art. How can we help you? How can we assist you create?” and I’m like thank you! Like there’s people that really care about the arts still. So that was very beautiful to see and to also experience.
06:07-06:10 Andréa: Ooh here’s a situational question. Another artist is delayed to the show, you have to take the stage to fill the gap. Do you freestyle to music or silence?
06:10-06:23 JoQ: Okay. Freestyle to the music because I always have a beat ready.
06:26-06:36 Andréa: Yes! Stay ready you don’t have to get ready. period. *Laughter* What’s a piece of advice that has stayed with you over the years?
06:37-06:46 JoQ: Be kind to others. Be kind to others no matter what and stay true to yourself and your art.
06:47-06:49 Andréa: What’s a future goal or dream that you have?
06:52-07:47 JoQ: To have my own studio club. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I definitely want to have a space where during the day is a studio. Then at night, it’s a safe space for us to just thrive, go and see each other. I always wanted to have my own club, I always say that’s like my 10-year goal is to have my own studio/club. I would love that and like have the space open for other artists to showcase their art and showcase what they believe in. Specifically a space for queer, trans, non-binary POC folks and allies. For sure my own spot, our art space where we can just showcase art every day. That would be my ultimate goal.
07:48-07:52 Andréa: Agree. I can’t wait to see it, it’s gonna happen.
07:53-07:54 JoQ: It’s gonna happen manifestation!
07:54-07:58 Andréa: What haven’t we asked that you want people to know?
07:59-08:23 JoQ: Even if I’m at like the club or at the bar, I’m still thinking about “oh that would be cute choreography” or “ooh that would be a sickening lyric for my song”. You know like, I’m always in my head about art. Always and forever. Like I’m always thinking about inspiration. I could be out and think “oh that’s inspiring”, then I’ll sit in the corner and be like typing on my phone like oh this is a cute lyric. Bars!
08:24-08:28 Andréa: I think there’s something recent that happened to you that you can share. A title of sorts.
08:28-10:06 JoQ: Ooh! Oh yes I am your reigning Mister Gay San Francisco, which is a pretty dope title. I’m in the imperial court and what I’ve learned so far about the imperial court is that we are raising money for different organizations within our community and I always love giving back. I always support the people that supported you. I’m all about that, so I guess that’s something that a lot of people don’t know. I love to do fundraisers and give back to communiy. I love my community so much. It’s really good to see folks within our age bracket doing things for the community, because in the imperial court there’s the OGs. And it’s just like all right we respect what y’all did now it’s our time to revamp it and give back to community. And support not only just one demographic but everyone on the spectrum you know? Diversifying the court and getting those funds out to other organizations and nonprofits. I love doing work as far as giving back to community because that’s important and I was taught that at a very young to always give back. So be kind give back it’ll come back tenfold.
10:07- 10:09 Andréa: Yes sir! Share with the people where they can find you.
10:09-10:28 JoQ: You can find me on instagram @sirjoq, s-i-r-j-o-q and on Facebook Jocques Whitfield. And catch me in San Francisco, in the bay or probably in the city near you. Book me ow!
10:28-10:33 Andréa: Yes book me! And now it’s time for my favorite part, show us your favorite dance move!
10:34-10:37 JoQ: Okay so if you’re gonna give like some hands, I love to give it like a little shimmy. It’s always a shimmy right? This is how you get to move through the club too. When it’s crowded, you shimmy and then you just move your hands but when you move your hands you’re kind of pushing people out the way. *laughter* So you shimmy and you’re like ow! ow! ow! [hand gestures include touching and flicking across the upper arms and shoulders in a rhythmic motion]
Hey hey girl! And then you just get both hands going. I love a good hand performance but just a shimmy, a good shimmy you know?!
[Theme music plays, then fades out slightly]
[Fade to the 10 in 10 animation: a bright green background and a prominent “10” with the “0” designed to look like a clock face with the hands moving. Another “10” pops up and is nested within the original clock-face “0,” with “IN” nested inside the second “0.” Dancers’ Group’s logo is in the corner and the text beneath reads “Quick insights with the Bay Area Dance community.”]
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This conversation appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of In Dance.