Community Dance Classes Welcome Everyone

By Amanda Sieradzki
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Poetica Weekly Dance Classes
Offer Movement & Poetry for All

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Tuesdays 6:30-7:30 pm
Water Works Park, downtown Tampa
Free, Donations welcome

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A poem is a room – sans walls, open air.
Stanzas accumulate like twitching fingers and arching necks.
Rhythm, an inner metronome, driving the day as the Sun slips away.
Flow embodying the graceful mutability of each given hour.

How do those images sit inside your sternum?
Are your eyes free to scan over each syllable or focus with singularity?
Can what you hear and how you feel both become part of the dance?

I believe in teaching without boundaries or age limits or levels or abilities.
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In November, I began an interdisciplinary, community dance class at downtown Tampa’s Water Works Park Pavilion. Classes are donation-based and open to anyone who wants to discover the world around them through movement and poetry.

Each class is layered with metaphoric, descriptive language. This open-air laboratory uses dance methods and exercises developed by Anne Green Gilbert to promote healthy brains and bodies. In every warm-up “BrainDance” I ask all to. . .
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Inflate lungs like jellyfish, wring out arms like worn sponges

Create constellations of knees and elbows, fingertips illuminating

new paths and describing the space around crown and feet.

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When other poets have read and critiqued my writing, they often remark on the consistency of beats per line, and the natural rhythms that rise and fall across the page. I always attributed these idiosyncrasies to my training as a dancer. My ear for phrasing in music and movement became my inner metronome.

Although my love for poetry and movement once existed in separate palettes, over many years they have intentionally bled and blended. My teaching and choreography are Pollack-like collages and have become the messy, zesty home where Poetica — my dance company — is rooted.

Each stanza of a poem contains boundless energy waiting to be captured and channeled. In class, we dance with a new poet each week, generating friction against their tightly crafted worlds.
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During an exploration of body parts and shapes, we twisted up inside Amanda Gorman’s “The Shallows.” Each student became “touch deficient & light-starved,” as they arrived on the “wide wharf of war.” Limbs moved “above the fog like a promontory at dusk” and meditated on whether this would “leave us bitter? or better?”

In April, we parsed out lines from Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” Each student chose one or two movements to place with their line as they recited it. In our small circle, we welcomed spring’s new buds – “her early leaf’s a flower, but only so for an hour.”

For Emma Swan Hall’s “Sea-Storm,” I asked everyone to pluck two verbs from her electrifying work and improvise with them, allowing them to stretch, morph and change with repetition.

We each watched one another lunge like “lowering thunder spreads,” slink over the concrete in “water slurs,” feet fast as lightning approached “starkly stiff jagged,” and hands percussed like “the cracking of a gun.”
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During our week on the concept of balance, we played inside of Alice B. Fogel’s “Balance.” Fogel begins by saying that “balance is everything,” quickly transitioning to “this earth is not a wheel, it is a rock that erodes,” before concluding that “it is easier and wiser to balance a stone as if on one toe” rather “than to push it back against the curve of its own world.” Each student chose the line they resonated with the most and made an on-balance and off-balance version that could start and stop anywhere in the space.

These explorations add a creative layer to each class. While I also cover the basics of movement — body, time, space, action, energy — my goal as writer, poet, dancer and educator, is to provide a safe, welcoming environment for anyone with a desire to reconnect with themselves through movement.

Amanda Sieradzki

The community members who have joined Poetica’s weekly classes range from students with no prior dance training to those who have taken dance hiatuses to artists from other disciplines, to life-long movers.

I encourage anyone to join, whether their goal is to participate in one hour’s worth of exercise or to meet new people in a creative, energizing environment. Each class is a blank page ready to be composed verse by verse.
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Photos by Alvaro G. Gabaldon

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Poetica Community Dance Classes @ Waterworks Park
Tuesdays from 6:30-7:30 pm
1701 N Highland Ave, Tampa FL 33602

No experience necessary. All ages welcome!
Please wear comfortable clothing & shoes. Free, donations always appreciated.

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