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Meet Amanda Whitworth of Tributary Dance, New Hampshire Dance Alliance, Plymouth State University

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Whitworth.

Amanda, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Detroit, Michigan native. Found a love of dance in middle school when in-school arts programming provided an opportunity to combine athleticism with artistry. Attended undergrad at New York University- Tisch School of the Arts and went on to perform internationally with dance and theatre companies and choreographers. Post 9/11 split time between Boston and Montreal and eventually had the opportunity to spend an academic year as an artist in residence at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. That experience peaked my interest in dance and education and so while in residence I also completed a master’s degree in Integrated Arts Education. I was subsequently hired to coordinate the PSU dance program and joined the Music, Theatre and Dance Department faculty full time. Since then I’ve recognized my strengths and love for networking and continue to carve interdisciplinary pathways with dance in advocacy, education, performance and entrepreneurship. I’ve been enjoying the camaraderie and energy created by working in teams on big projects and ideas and that’s exactly what I do best. Currently, I do whatever I can to serve and support the northern New England dance community and collaborate with organizations, businesses, individuals and agencies to bring dance processes and performance into the forefront of culture. I have a project based company called Tributary Dance. I perform and “pick up” artists based on contracts. Currently, I serve as the President of New Hampshire Dance Alliance, a budding non-profit that provides networking, resources and advocacy for the dance community.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Biggest challenge is getting out of my own way. A professional dance career requires hyper-focus on yourself as an individual, a choreographer’s tool, an athletic anomaly. Your body, your look, your movement is the product you sell. In some ways it is extremely self-centered. It’s been difficult to let go of the self-centered nature of the practice that is inherently embedded in dance training and understand that the more I serve the entire field, the deeper I connect to my own practice.

Living in New Hampshire is also a big challenge. Geographically, I am removed from urban centers that provide training grounds and professional development opportunities. While there are stunning dance artists residing in the state, the dance community is disparate and lacks clear channels for communication. At New Hampshire Dance Alliance we are working to support intersections of the community and think broadly about how we can engage the general public in dance appreciation. Nonetheless, I travel A LOT to learn, train, collaborate and connect.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Tributary Dance, New Hampshire Dance Alliance, Plymouth State University – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
So far, I’m most proud of the agency I’ve inspired in others to commit to dance as a profession or a hobby. I’d say that as an individual apart from the businesses I’m attached to, I’m known as a reliable and innovative collaborator and a high energy, joyful practitioner and educator of arts. In the future, I hope to be known as a compassionate creative place-maker. While I love dance, I am invested even more in the people I work with. This sets me apart from others in the field because I am able to remove myself from discipline specific knowledge and take a broader view.

Tributary Dance
– Master teacher
– Physical theatre artist
-Opportunities for young professional dancers
-Large scale collaborative performance projects

New Hampshire Dance Alliance
– Advocacy for dance in public schools
– Curriculum planning and development
– Networking opportunities
– Resource building and creation

Plymouth State University
– Interdisciplinary large scale performances with professional artists
– Innovation with colleagues in arts and technologies
– Curriculum innovation (Interdisciplinary dance degree, Standardized Patient Training program, Doctor of Physical Therapy program intersections, Dance Entrepreneurship and Performance Studies)
– Artist in residence programming
– Community programming and events

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Most immediately, I’m off the wall excited to work with friends and colleagues Robin Marcotte and Elizabeth Daily to revive an original work of physical theatre called “Shadows” for the Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth, NH. Inspired by the graphic novel “Walking Shadows” by London-based artist Neil Bousfield, with original music by LA based composer Ben Kutner the work follows the tragic relationship between a couple living in the industrial revolution. Mr. Bousfield’s woodcuts are embedded into the performance and we are thrilled to work with Vivian Beer, sculptor to re-imagine the set piece. August 30 – Sept 1; Come check it out!!! It’s terribly moving and I’m getting psyched to kick my own butt in the process.

In general, I’m looking to expand my skill set and have been trying to get my hands on as much professional development as possible. I really enjoyed the “countertechnique” dance intensive at Gibney Dance Center by Anouk van Dijk of Chunky Move and it informed my approach to teaching professional and amateur movers. And just last week I attended a “Brownsfield Creative Place Making Bootcamp” hosted by Monadnock Arts Alive! and presented by New Jersey Center for Creative Place Making; it has my mind racing with ideas for state revitalization projects!

I volunteer at my local elementary school to integrate arts programming into the school day. The principal and staff are an incredible innovative team and it’s been one of my favorite experiences this year. We’ve been helping the middle school students devise, direct and perform in their very own circus which opens in 3 weeks!!!!

In the future I’d love to open/run/work at an “innovative laboratory” where smart people from multiple sectors work to answer big questions or challenges through the intersection of arts and culture.

Contact Info:

© Maundy Mitchell

Image Credit:
Giant Cog wheel – Foster P. Whitworth III
Tattoo portrait and cloud set – Maundy Mitchell

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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