Blue Moves presents “Creative Justice:  Feeding the Souls” with Poverty & the Arts

Blue Moves presents “Creative Justice: Feeding the Souls” with Poverty & the Arts

To reserve your free ticket, click here.


On Sunday, February 15th, 2015, Poverty & the Arts and Blue Moves Modern Dance Company partner with Room in the Inn to offer “Creative Justice:  Feeding the Soul”. This unique performance experience features one of Blue Moves’ social justice choreographic works and Poverty & the Arts’ resident artists and poets from the homeless community. Much in the way that Room in the Inn offers volunteers and the homeless a chance to share a meal together with their winter shelter program, this performance will allow all types of community members to come together and a share an afternoon of dance, poetry and music at Room in the Inn’s Campus for Human Development, 700 Drexel Street, Nashville, Tennessee with shows at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

“Divine Sparks”, choreographed by Amanda Cantrell Roche, uses the audio of recorded interview excerpts of local activists and community organizers Lindsey Krinks of Nashville Open Table, Tamara Ambar of Nashville Conflict Resolution Center, Ngawang Losel of One Human Race 4 Justice and Sara Sharpe of EVEolution, combined with choreography and music to speak of the fire in their souls to help their community. It concludes with recognizing the divine spark in every human being, and a call for us to listen to that spark to work towards shaping better communities and changing the world.

“I’m excited to share this piece with such an integrated audience,” says Cantrell Roche. “The arts are vital, and I’d like to see access to the arts treated as a vital necessity — almost like food and shelter. I hope the experience of this performance will remind everyone of their own divine spark, and empower them to acknowledge and act upon it in whatever form that may take; be it through volunteering, activism or simply showing more compassion to others.”

Poverty & the Arts’ mission is to empower homeless and formerly homeless individuals as artists and creatives by helping them generate income, meaning, and purpose in life. They also use the arts to promote relationships and a space for volunteers to view homeless individuals as talented and creative, thus creating better advocates and more compassionate community members.

“The more I work with the homeless, the more it becomes obvious how much environment drives behavior,” says Nicole Brandt, founder and executive director of Poverty & the Arts. “The arts create an environment for our community that produce passion, motivation, and self-confidence. This new environment allows our artists to have more success in generating their own income and sustainability.”

Seating is limited. Each show will have 25 free seats open to the general public through reservation only on first come, first serve basis through the Eventbrite link above beginning January 15th at 8 a.m. The remaining half of the seats will be open to the participants in the Room in the Inn program. In lieu of a ticket price, attendees are encouraged to bring a gift of beauty or something that feeds the soul. Suggested items are sketchbooks, books of poetry, visual art and other items that can fit in a backpack.

Lucent Vignette Photography

Lucent Vignette Photography

Residencies for Refugee and Immigrant and Students Empowered

In April I was excited to work with the Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee for their after-school program R.I.S.E. (Refugee and Immigrant Students Empowered). Over the course of a week I introduced middle school refugee students to dance and choreographic composition fundamentals, we  reflected on our personal and communal identities, explored writing identity poems, and then created a short dance and spoken word piece expressing individual and community characteristics. This process mirrors a longer process I undertook in a social justice dance/narrative project on immigration. Many thanks to the Metro Arts Commission for helping make these residencies possible, as well as a residency completed in October 2013 for the same program.

This mini documentary of the residencies was made possible by a mini grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission and was filmed and edited by Ian Cresswell. Dance and Writing Residencies for R.I.S.E.

Social Justice Dance and Audio Project on Immigration

Social Justice Dance and Audio Project on Immigration

My recently-completed choreographic project is on the theme of Immigration, and premiered as part of a Blue Moves’ production Saturday, August 3rd at Belmont’s Black Box Theater as part of the SIDESHOW Fringe Festival. My work on this began by researching and interviewing three sources from different areas of the world on their experience as immigrants; a Kurdish refugee woman who spent much of her childhood living in a tent in Turkey under harsh conditions before coming to the United States, and a Burmese woman who fled the Civil War in Myanmar. Another woman speaks of her experience immigrating from Colombia at the age of 10, and translating for her mother for many years. The dance features three solos highlighting the experience of three immigrant or refugee women, set to the audio narration in their own words, as well as framing dances which address how we respond to immigrants and refugees, and how we need to shift the attitudes of fear and misunderstanding to knowledge and acceptance, and have a constructive dialogue on this complex issue.

“Yearning to Breathe Free” was part of the Picnic in the Park Series Thursday, October 24th, along with excerpts of “Voices of Nashville”, Tennessee Women’s Theater Project’s new play sharing the stories of immigrants in our community. Thanks to Metro Arts Commission and ArtOber for making this performance possible. This piece was also part of  Global Education Center‘s Global Bash in February and on the Vanderbilt Dance Program’s Spring Concert in April 2014. Excerpts were performed at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in June, opening the plenary session “The Power of Arts in Transforming Communities.” You can watch that performance here.

To see excerpts and hear more about this dance, click here.

Photo by Martin O’Connor

Comprehensive Immigration Reform is an Emergency! Please contact your Congressional Representative today and urge for support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. More info here.

My work in progress for Blue Moves’ fire-themed show October 25, 2014 at Cumberland Park, Nashville  is “Divine Sparks”. Like “Yearning to Breathe Free,” this piece also features recorded words from interviews set to choreography. Local activists Lindsey Krinks, Tamara Losel, Ngawang Losel and Sara Sharpe speak of their passion for helping others, as well as the spark within each of us to be engaged in making a positive social impact.

Personal Growth Integrative Workshops for Your Organization

Two-hour to full-day creative process, personal growth workshops can be designed for your organization as a public or private offering. I am also available to integrate workshops into yoga or other spiritual or therapeutic retreats. Movement, creative writing and visual play is a powerful combination for actively reflecting upon, uncovering and embodying personal truths, and creating a vision and path to move forward. Participants are gently guided through a process of reflection, sharing, journaling and movement exploration in these workshops. Topics may include balance and centering, boundaries, re-igniting creative and professional drive, or one which we collaboratively design to fit your organization’s needs. Please contact me for pricing.

I have offered workshops at The Estuary, Gilda’s Club Nashville, Onsite and abrasiveMedia,  and am a regular teacher at Art & Soul Studio. Click here for upcoming workshops.

What participants have said about workshops and class series:

“What a profound and soulful workshop. I am still floating… I remembered, tonight, how important it is to take time out of this busy (and sometimes heavy) life in order to dig deep, reconnect with self, and to connect, also, with brave and generous fellow travelers. I feel a shift, and I was desperate for one.” ~ Sara Sharpe, “Crossing the Threshold: Beginning the Hero’s Journey”,  November 2014

“I came to this workshop expecting to learn to deal with the shifting world around me. Silly me, I thought what would happen is that I would learn to reorder the world in a more balanced way. What happened instead was that I learned to shift!” — Tracy, “Shifting Sands, Divining Balance”.

“I was surprised at how profoundly I was affected by the time I spent moving around with (my partner). To be held closely and supported gently but firmly was a huge healing for me.” — Sally, “Leading and Letting Go”.

“This was a thought-provoking workshop.  Thanks for offering it and for leading us through it so beautifully.” — Janis, “Boundaries”.

“I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the class.  I took it because I was heading for a major life change and this was the impetus for me to head in another direction. ”  – Gail, “The Hero’s Journey” co-taught with F. Lynne Bachleda.

“I sat outside this cool morning with my warm cup ‘o coffee and reflected on last night’s experience–it was and is inspiring, insightful, and calming. Thank you, Amanda, and thank you all for sharing yourselves and for your support. ” — Allison, “Crossing the Threshold:  Beginning the Hero’s Journey”, September 2014
“The experience definitely blew on the coals of my heart and gave fresh definition to my hopes and dreams.” — Maria, “In Words and Body:  Articulating Your Vision”, January 2015




Teaching Artistry Approach

My approach to Teaching Artistry, whether in schools, in professional development seminars or in workshops for the community, always involves deep reflection, inquiry, guided exploration and art making. I am rooted in community service and social justice, and often infuse participant creative involvement in my work as a choreographer and activist.
Currently I am collaboratively designing and will be team facilitating TPAC Education’s Fall Institute, a two-day aesthetic education/arts integration for classroom teachers.