Amanda Thompson | The Artist Behind the Developer
A civic leader inspires her colleague — and the downtown district that she’s working to rejuvenate.
By Lina Teixeira, May 8, 2018
Best known as the new face of the Community Development Agency for downtown Clearwater, Amanda Thompson has been given the huge task of co-coordinating the CRA’s role revitalizing and developing downtown Clearwater.
But what most people don’t know is her history and passion for art, dancing and choreography.
She began her love affair with dance at the tender age of 3. She trained in all genres and loved every minute. She continued to dance throughout high school and but once in college, stopped.
Thompson remembers being miserable and buying into the perception that art only existed in New York and L.A. After a one-year hiatus, she returned to dancing with the new belief that “Art should be everywhere.” With her new perspective and newfound conviction, she began to teach dance and choreograph themed events.
In 2002 She joined Zoetic, an all-female dance group. In 2008 she began to perform site-specific shows. This was in response to the recession and decreased attendance to traditional shows. This involved directing and choreographing dance shows to specific locations. One of her favorite “sites” was at Centennial Olympic Park on a splash pad. This involved dancing on intermittent water spouting fountains. Her eyes lit up while explaining the logistics of it all; she was infectious.
Thompson explained that she enjoys the challenge of choreographing with limitations. One such example is a whole routine that involved constant contact between the dancers. She also enjoys exploring the human relationship and human dilemmas — all through movement.
Having had a dance background myself, I was curious to know how she would describe her teaching style. Amanda passionately describes her teaching style as a balance between focusing on disciplined technique, control, while allowing for dancer individuality. She goes on to say that she takes into consideration the dancer’s strength and talent.
As you can imagine, I had to ask how she was going to put her art background to good use, in her role in the development of downtown.
Her response warmed my heart: She believes every successful downtown has the presence of art, and she intends to balance the growth and support of local artists while bringing new ones on board for inspiration.
This spurred a productive brainstorming session and ended with her agreeing to collaborate with me on my next wearable art collection.
Stay tuned for the results of this exciting collaboration.