Amanda Cantrell Roche
Choreographer; Dancer; Educator: Adults; Educator: Teens; Educator: Youth; Writer
Amanda Cantrell Roche divides her time between dance, writing, travel, activism, mothering two children and working as a Teaching Artist for TPAC Education, the Tennessee Arts Commission and in community settings. In addition to offering aesthetic education residencies in schools, Amanda designs and team-leads multi-day seminars in professional development for classroom teachers and Teaching Artists, unleashing their creativity and guiding them to more artful teaching through reflection and purposeful play in the arts. She has recently started offering adult creative process and personal growth classes at Art & Soul, and has offered workshops at The Estuary and Gilda’s Club Nashville. Amanda is a believer in the power of authentic experiences with the arts to heighten awareness, deepen sensitivity, broaden understanding and promote social change. She is a co-founder and choreographer for Blue Moves Modern Dance Company, for whom she often creates social justice choreography, and a contributing writer for the literary webzine, Nashville Skyline. She is also a founder of the human rights group, One Human Race 4 Justice, and enjoys collaborating with community partners in creative projects to enhance the lives of people in Nashville, a city which she is proud to call home. Artist Statement The arts have a unique and potent role in our culture, our schools and our communities. They possess the power to heighten awareness, deepen sensitivity, empower individuals, and enhance everyday living by tapping the innate creativity and aesthetic sense of each person. It is my duty as an artist and teaching artist to utilize the position and gifts of the arts for positive change. Through social justice choreography and written word, I have been able to increase awareness, generate understanding, and provoke action for human rights causes. My alchemy as an artist is most powerful when I combine three of my deepest passions: dance, writing and social justice. There are aspects of social justice issues that are best told through the poetry of dance, and there are times when the addition of narration conveys specific, vital information that can deepen the viewer’s response to a choreographic work of art. Through the language of the body and the word, powerful stories can be told. I am committed to continuing to produce choreography and writing to promote social justice. As a teaching artist, I have the opportunity to guide children and adults in various settings in reflection and creative process exploration of dance and writing, and I believe passionately that the arts and art creation belong to everyone. Dance and writing are powerful voices, whether they come from an untrained but authentic place, or from years of experience and training within a discipline. From the perspective of both the audience as well as the creator of art, the arts should be honored for their unique powers to communicate, to inspire wonder, and to cultivate understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live. I will continue to seek opportunities to work with children and adults in guiding them to find and develop their own voices as artists.