Like mother, like daughter

Kim Garner (left) shares a moment with daughter Jalin Ford after the Homecoming on field performance. Ford is a member of Orchesis, as was her mom.

If you had the pleasure of meeting alumna Kim Garner you would instantly think she’s a graduating senior, and as for her daughter, they could easily pass for best friends.
One could only imagine all the characteristics they share, but one of the most important is their love for dance.
Garner, a Grambling native, began attending Grambling State University in the fall of 1992, but she was dancing long before then.
Practicing dance with Diane Maroney-Grigsby, the director of the Orchesis Dance Company, since the eighth grade, Garner was well equipped with experience and was beyond ready for whatever was next.
“Mrs. Maroney would offer the high school students to take dance courses over the summer,” said Garner “I did that every year until I graduated,” she said. “By the time I made it to Grambling (State), I was good to go.”
Garner joined the Orchesis Dance Company as a freshman and was given the opportunity to be on the field. She danced for three years, her junior year being her last.
While in school, Garner gave birth to her daughter Jalin Ford. After Ford’s second birthday, the family relocated to Atlanta.
Following in her mother’s footsteps, Ford is also a member of the Orchesis Dance Company.  
“Eighteen years has really gone by,” said Garner, “and the great thing is she’s doing so well and she’s doing exactly what she wanted to do ever since she could speak.”
Ford is a freshman majoring in marketing and minoring in dance.  Her mother constantly instills in her the importance of also getting an education. Ford plan to dance professionally, while marketing herself.  She also plans to open her own company.
“I always talk about the importance of having a careers in arts, you always need a business background,” said Garner.
“I had her watch The TLC Story, and it just gave her lessons she could take away with that,” Garner said, referring to the 2013 TV movie. “It’s not all just created; you have to really understand business. One day she will be marketing herself and she will be able to know what’s a good business deal or what’s a good marketing deal.”
Ford has been dancing most of her life and says most of her experience is self-taught.  She credits YouTube videos as being one of the ways she has learned, and also being part of the North Atlanta High School dance team. It wasn’t until she began attending Grambling that she was taught professionally.
Just like her mother, Ford is also a freshman who was honored to perform on the field during games.
“There are only two of us [freshmen] on the field,” said Ford. “I feel like I can bring just as much to the table as everyone else, and because I am comfortable with different genres of dance, putting me on the field was just a plus.” Ford plans to begin her professional dance career while in school; this includes traveling and still attending school.
This summer she was given the opportunity to dance with one of Beyonce’s lead dancers.
“I am dance mom,” explained Garner. “I know what it’s like to live in that world, and I just want to see her succeed.”