Earth Film Project

Earth Film Project

Blue Moves,  the dance company I co-founded in 1989 and in which I am still active as a dancer and choreographer, has chosen “Earth” as our theme for the season. It is the fourth in a series of themes exploring the four elements:  Water, Air, Fire and Earth. The culmination of a season considering each theme is a performance exploring how each element inspired choreography, from multiple voices within the company.

Rather than a live choreographic work, I chose this time to create a film which will integrate choreography, nature footage, and interviews with diverse individuals. Pre-schoolers, environmentalists, farmers, healthy food advocates, residents of homeless camps and others will all be asked the same three, very simple questions:

If the earth could speak, what would she say?

 

What would you say to her?

 

What is one thing we can do for the earth?

The short film will be included in Blue Moves’ performance at Shelby Bottoms Nature Center, tentatively scheduled for September 26th, 2015, and will also be available online.

 

Residencies for Schools and Refugee and Immigrant and Students Empowered

For more than a decade, I have offered ArtSmart aesthetic education residencies in schools through TPAC Education. These are always focused on a performance the students will see live. I work most often with middle school grades, but have also worked with ages from PreK through high school in dozens of Davidson County schools, as well as some in surrounding counties.

I also am on the Tennessee Arts Commission Artist Roster, and offer independent residences for schools and organizations. My work is focused on integrating curriculum or other learning objectives into creative process work in dance and sometimes in writing.

In April of 2013 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:  “Yearning to Breathe Free” and “Divine Sparks”

Social Justice Dance: “Yearning to Breathe Free” and “Divine Sparks”

Photo by Martin O’Connor

“Yearning to Breathe Free” features the voices of Julie from Colombia, Elizabeth from Burma, and Kasar from Kurdistan, who now call Nashville home.

Combining audio excerpts of interviews with music and contemporary choreography, this piece gives a window into immigrants’ lives before and after they make a new home in Nashville. It also urges a constructive dialogue on immigration and reminds us of the words engraved on our Statue of Liberty:  ”Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.”

“Yearning to Breathe Free” premiered at Blue Moves’ “Blue O2″ show as part of Nashville’s SIDESHOW Fringe Festival in August, 2013. It 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.

Responses from audience members:

“I took the time to go see this dance and it was amazingly beautiful…. tears came to my eyes as I was challenged to see and hear of experiences that have never been a part of my reality…. such a worthy endeavor.” — Kathy Plourde

“Story told through the ARTS builds bridges and connects us like nothing else! As part of Picnic in the Park I just saw “Yearning to Breathe Free” and excerpts of “Voices of Nashville” at the library. I wish all especially those who are prejudiced, rigid and afraid could hear the immigrant stories collected and incorporated into these two pieces. Thank you Amanda Cantrell Roche and Blue Moves dance group and Sara Sharpe and Christine Mather and TN Women’s Theater Project!” – Dawn Kirk

 

Lucent Vignette Photography

Lucent Vignette Photography

“Divine Sparks” premiered October 25, 2014 as part of Blue Moves’ “Burning Blue” at Cumberland Park, Nashville. It was also performed for an integrated audience of general public and the homeless at Room in the Inn, in conjunction with Poverty & the Arts, February 2015.

Featuring the words of Lindsey Krinks of Open Table Nashville, Tamara Ambar of Nashville Conflict Resolution Center, Ngawang Losel of One Human Race 4 Justice and Sara Sharpe of Festive Evolution, this dance recognizes the fire of activism and the divine spark that exists within us all to work towards making our communities and our world a more just and better place.

Responses from audience members:

‘Divine Sparks’ deeply impressed, inspired, and touched me. Amanda Cantrell Roche truly has a gift for creating work of that nature that maintains the difficult balance between subtly and directness, invoking real emotions and encouraging action, rather than bringing guilt for inaction.” – Rebekah Hampton Barger

“Deeply satisfying art meditation on the ‘divine spark’ in us all, shared among us, individual to us. Beautiful choreography and execution. I wish everyone I know could have been there – talk about enLIGHTenment!!!!” – Carol Ponder (this was in response to both “Divine Sparks” and also the entire show, “Burning Blue”)

 

 

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. amanda.c.roche@gmail.com

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.