Tonight we bathed in the glory of dance and language and I am so grateful!  Dance is my primary language and through it I’ve found ways to interpret and respond to written word, feeling more connected to what I read, hear and write.  Movement has been a portal for understanding, a growth mechanism and a tool in emotional healing.  Tonight, it is clear, through conversation that language (in all the ways we might interpret that word) is a way to sort through the chaos surrounding us. Check out the recording here.


Dancer-Poet Performance #1

At the beginning of the week, we asked Jeff Stern to describe himself in 5 words. Obviously inspired by the first taste of warm weather he responded: “Breakfast sandwich in the sun”. Ah, the beauty!  Jeff is a writer, filmmaker and educator making collaborative art on NH’s seacoast and teaching as a Senior Lecturer in Media and Culture at Bentley University.  He performed an original work titled “Someday, This War’s Gonna End”.  Jeff earned his MFA in film production from Boston University. His two most recent short films, The Morning of Everything (2014) and My Dark Side and My Light Side Meet In A Bar To Discuss The New Star Wars Movie (2016), played at numerous national film festivals. The Morning of Everything was an official selection of the Ashland, Nantucket, New Hampshire and Monadnock film fests (among others). It won the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the Monadnock Film Festival. In 2014, Jeff begin challenging his students and his community to go on 48 hour “digital fasts” in which they give up all devices and screens for a weekend. (Insert creepy music here . . .) He has spoken at TEDx and Creative Mornings on this subject. You can watch his talks here.   

Get to know more about Jeff at his website and learn about his newest project BROCKETS!  And follow him on the socials, Facebook and Linkedin @JeffStern  Twitter, @JeffAStern


Kelly Diamond is dancer, rolfer, dog-mom, hiker, ceramics enthusiast living in Concord, NH. She is a Certified Advanced Rolfer and Rolf Movement Practitioner with her own practice called Diamond Rolfing & Movement.  She offers a holistic system of bodywork called Rolfing® Structural Integration. Rolfing returns a person’s body to a more ideal state of balance and alignment. This is facilitated through a process of gentle soft-tissue manipulation and movement re-education.

Kelly danced professionally for First State Ballet Theatre, Richmond Ballet, Albany Berkshire Ballet, Ajkun Ballet Theatre, Neglia Ballet, Freefall Contemporary Dance Company, and Ballet Misha. Kelly has performed notable roles in such classics as Giselle, Paquita, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Cinderella, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote. She has had the priveledge of dancing Balanchine’s Four Temperments, Rubies, and Serenade, as well as contemporary works by Matthew Neenan and Viktor Plotnikov. Kelly also guest performed with Opera Delaware in their productions ofr the Merry Widow and La Traviata. Kelly Joined the Dimensions in Dance faculty in 2014 and is thrilled to still be able to perform with its affiliate company, Ballet Misha in Manchester, NH.  While ballet is the focus of her training she also makes guest appearances in works of contemporary dance and improvisation.  Recently, Kelly bopped around Concord, NH on a warm, sunny day and her video was adored by many across the state. Take a peek.

Facebook:  @Kelly Diamond and @Diamond Rolfing & Movement @rolfingwithkelly   Instagram: @DiamondRolfingmovement


Dancer-Poet Performance #2

Liz Ahl is poet, teacher, bourbon-lover, poker-player, and itinerant-Navy-brat-turned-homebody living in Holderness, NH.   She is a Professor of English at Plymouth State University where she collaborates on interdisciplinary curriculum and art-making.  Liz is the the author of Beating the Bounds (Hobblebush Books, 2017),  Home Economics (Seven Kitchens Press, 2016), Talking About the Weather (Seven Kitchens Press, 2012), Luck (Pecan Grove Press, 2010), and A Thirst That’s Partly Mine (winner of the 2008 Slapering Hol Press chapbook contest). Luck received the “Reader’s Choice in Poetry” award at the 2011 New Hampshire Literary Awards. Her poems, some of which have received Pushcart Prize nominations, have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Lavender Review, Slipstream, Sinister Wisdom, and Nimrod, among others. Her work has also been included in several anthologies, including This Assignment is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2013), Mischief, Caprice, and Other Poetic Strategies (Red Hen Press, 2004), A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry (University of Akron Press, 2012) and Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence (University of Iowa Press, 2002). She has been awarded residencies at Playa, Jentel, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and The Vermont Studio Center.

Get to know Liz at her website! Follow her on the socials: Facebook – @LizAhl  Instagram and Twitter – @surlyacres


Anthony Bounphakhoma is an artist, mover, life-lover, entrepreneur, and kid-who-dreams big! He engages with kids and young adults as a dance instructor and mentor through innovative programming using dance, art, film and love.  He is the founder and owner of The Block Dance Collaborative and you can support this growing effort through the on-going Indiegogo campaign.  Check out Anthony in action at the 2019 TEDx Portsmouth event where he teamed up with vocalist Sharon Ippolito in performance.  Get in touch and stay tuned to Anthony by email: bounphakhoma@gmail.com

Instagram: @Ant_boun , Facebook: Anthony Bounphakhom .


Dancer-Poet Performance #3

Mike Nelson is a dad, writer, painter of bees, a maintenance guy and is still-stuck-in-the-80’s. He lives in Portsmouth where he served as the Portsmouth Poet Laureate from 2017-2019. A generous collaborator, Mike has been bringing poetry to diverse audiences through festivals and classes across the state.   He’s published three books, most recently Another Forty Years. Mike is the host of Beat Night at Book & Bar and the founder of Tribe Poetry Project and Senile Monk Press. He’s passionate about amplifying the creative voices in our community, especially those that struggle to be heard. During November of 2017, Mike started a quarterly poetry zine called Good Fat meant to be a representation of our extensive poetry community in the seacoast and beyond that would also include poems from the three poetry classes. Producing to date three zines and one book. More info

You can find Mike hosting Beat Night and also on Facebook @MikeNelson !


Nick Neagle is a fitness freak, dancer, light, life-changer and free-spirit. He is the founder of N-Squared Dance Company that originated in NYC and travels around the country for performances and residencies.  Nick is also a freelance fitness and dance instructor, working across central and southern NH and is a District Manager for Arbonne International.  He earned his  BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College and has been on a journey of making ever since.  Nick has shown works in over 25 festivals and is a recurring choreographer at the Queensboro Dance Festival and the Moving Beauty Series.  He has also been the resident choreographer for the Lower East Side Shakespeare Company for which he was nominated as “Outstanding Choreographer”.  His choreography has won awards at the Detroit city Dacne Fesitval and has taken his company of collaborators around the country on tour.  Nick is also a dancer with New Hampshire Dance Collaborative in Manchester, NH.

Follow Nick! Facebook @Nick Neagle  Instagram @fit_nick_bettyneagle


Dancer-Poet Performance #4

Alexandria Peary is mindful-writer, professor and a poet residing in Londonderry,  NH.  She is a Professor in the English Department at Salem State University and serves as the New Hampshire Poet Laureate.  She earned a BA at Colby College, MFAs from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and a PhD in Composition from the University of New Hampshire. Alex performed “In hallways made of dashes” from her third book, Control Bird Alt Delete on Creative Campfire. Her honors include the Joseph Langland Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Iowa Poetry Prize, and the Slope Editions Book Prize. Alex serves as the History Editor for the Journal of Creative Writing Studies. She believes that every moment can be a prolific moment for anyone who writes, a concept she covered in her 2019 TEDx talk, “How Mindfulness Can Transform the Way You Think About Writing.”

Check out her website and blog and also find her on Twitter @WriteMindfully and @NHPoetLaureate .


Maria Ambrose grew up in Meredith, NH and began her training with Sally Downs.  She continued dancing at Lakes Region Dance (founded by Lenore Sousa and now owned by Lea King) and with Edra Toth at Northeastern Ballet Theatre.  She currently resides in NYC working as a dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company. She has toured and traveled extensively and is now back in NH with her family due to the pandemic.  Maria describes herself as a dancer, cat lady, massive Prince fan, long time boxer, and lover of anything in the mountains. She attended George Mason University on an academic scholarship and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance Performance in 2011. While at Mason, she was awarded the Harriet Mattusch Special Recognition in Dance. She has performed with Elisa Monte Dance, The Classical Theatre of Harlem, LEVYdance, AThomasProject, and Earl Mosley’s Diversity of Dance. In 2018, she traveled to China as an ambassador for Parsons Dance to teach dance to young musicians, and then to Japan as part of the Dance International Program.

Find Maria on the Paul Taylor Dance Company website and on Instagram: @paultaylordance or @maria.ambrose



Sarah Duclos resides in Gonic, NH and is a dancer, coffee aficionado, dog-mom, homesteader wannabe and right now…an avid puzzler. She is the Artistic Director of Neoteric Dance Collaborative, freelance choreographer and teaching artist on the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts – Arts Education Roster.  Most recently she has enjoyed working with Arts in Reach, and is an 2020 cohort member of the University of Pennsylvania and National Art Strategies Executive Program for Arts and Culture Strategy. Sarah is committed to creating work that builds community around the art of dance right here in New Hampshire. As a young dancer, Sarah worked directly with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange during their two year residency leading up to The Shipyard Project, sparking a lifelong interest in site-specific, community-based dance work. She studied at Pontine Movement Theatre, Ballet New England, Ballet Theatre Workshop, South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory and UNH, where she earned a BA in Theatre and Dance and founded NEO. She also holds level certification in jazz dance instruction from Giordano Dance Chicago.

Follow Sarah on the socials! Facebook – @SarahDuclos  Instagram and Twitter- @neotericdance


Rene Martinez is an educator, dancer, mom, New Hampshire Dance Alliance founding board member, and book enthusiast living in Manchester, NH.  She is with us today as a field expert bringing her work in the non-profit dance sector to light and also her experience as a dance educator.  She is the Integrated Arts Curriculum Coach & Dance Specialist at Guilmette Middle School in Lawrence, MA. Most of her experience has been in designing and implementing curriculum as the Director of Dance at New Hampton School (a secondary boarding school in NH) where she taught dance for eight years. Additionally, Martinez has taught at various institutions such as Granite State Arts Academy Public Charter (NH), Plymouth State University (NH), Winnepesakee Playhouse summer camps (NH), Perkiomen School (PA), French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts (NY), Muhlenberg College Dance Center for Children and Teens (PA), and at several private dance studios. Martinez has also spent seven summers touring the U.S. with Dance Olympus/Dance America as VIP Coordinator.Martinez has her B.A. in Dance and Business Administration from Muhlenberg College and M.Ed. in Integrated Arts with a focus in Dance from Plymouth State University.

Follow Rene on Facebook @ReneMartinez


Ginnie Lupi is an optimist, slave to her cat,  geek, connector and artist.  She is the Director of the NH State Council for the Arts and a fierce advocate for creative workers.  She delivered the information FAST BLAST tonight, highlighting the newest Artist Relief Funds. Please visit the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts for more details.



Covid-19 Re-opening Information Regarding Performing Arts

The Economic Reopening Task Force<https://www.nheconomy.com/reopeningtaskforce> will cover performing arts at its meeting tomorrow, Thursday, May 7, 1:30 PM. Nicki Clarke, Executive Director of Capitol Center for the Arts, has been asked to present and we know she will provide excellent, comprehensive testimony on the challenges the field faces.

I will be listening to the call and will provide an update afterward.

The public is welcome to listen to Task Force meetings as follows:

Call-in: 1-800-356-8278 or 1-857-444-0744
Pin: 194499 or 600744
If you have trouble getting on the call, please call 603-271-0670 or email at hilary.ryan@livefree.nh.gov



We will continue to host campfires once each month throughout the summer.  Stay tuned for the next webcast in June 2020 . . .MEET THE  MAKERS!  We are gearing up for studio tours, investigation of materials and conversations with our state’s vast making community.

Keep your eyes peeled for dates by following Amanda on the socials Facebook @AmandaWhitworth Twitter (although I’m not great at this one yet) @kindonaswing  and Instagram @leadwitharts or www.leadwitharts.com !  You can also find upcoming dates and themes on the NHSCA website too!