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Teens Activate

Make it! Move it!

Designed for teens ages 15 - 18 years old. Teens Activate integrates the art forms of spoken word and movement. This Core Dance summer programs for teens, activates their ideas under the guidance of professional spoken word artists, Marcus Montgomery and Chris James, as well as dance artist Amanda Sieradzki. 

Teaching Artist, Marcus Montgomery, shows us what kind of creation is possible with Teens Activate. Watch, and get inspired!


Chris James, a man who is truly on a journey to impact and change lives in his community and the world. Chris James is a national award winning spoken word poet, TED Talks speaker, playwright, educator, photographer and self published author. Chris James was the 2019 Keynote speaker for the 39th Annual Congressional Art Competition at the United States Capitol. Chris is the creator of stage plays, Dear Black People and The Odds Against US. Spring 2019, AETN/PBS will be releasing a short documentary about the life of Chris James. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA but regularly visits Arkansas to continue projects in his hometown. In 2016 he was featured on the front cover of Arkansas Times Newspaper for being one of Arkansas' top visionaries. Chris is a member of Foreign Tongues poetry slam team whom ranked 2nd place in the worlds second largest poetry competition in 2014. He is the founder of Arkansas' only poetry venue and second black owned gallery, The House of Art. As a teacher artist, Chris develops and facilitates art integrated poetry writing and performance workshops for K-12 across the country. Through his work, he educates on racial barriers and socio-economic challenges and how we can overcome. He is also very passionate about the awareness of mental health.

Marcus Montgomery is the owner of Next Move Consulting, where he has
traveled to various states such as: New York, DC, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, NewMexico, and Mississippi providing creative approaches for engaging and educating youth,specifically at risk youth and minority males to help them find their voice in education, life, and in the workforce.  Marcus designed curriculum and served as an instructor for the First Year Experience course at The University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College. Marcus also
served as a Success Coach for the Network for Student Success at The University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College, which is an Initiative program designed to improve the retention and graduation rates of marginalized high school and college students. He has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Most recently he completed a successful Finding Your Voice Creative Writing Workshop and Poetry Café with students at Horace Mann
Middle School, where each participant created original poetry and some recited their work before the faculty and students. He is also the author of 2 books. In Portholes: Windows Into My Soul, he uses poetry to connect with and motivate students to read, write, think critically and achieve goals.  His most recent book 7 Unwritten Rules of Success offers practical success strategies. His goal is to motivate readers and provide user friendly resources for every person that wants to live life to its fullest potential.

Marcus Montgomery has spent his entire career working with youth through community programs, churches, public schools and colleges.

Marcus Montgomery is known for helping the youth and young adults reach their
fullest potential. Marcus is married and has two brilliant daughters.

Amanda Sieradzki is an interdisciplinary choreographer, educator, and arts journalist based in Tampa, FL. Amanda is the artistic director and founder of Poetica, a dance company that values collaboration, bodies and voices in motion, and the community. Her teaching builds on Anne Green Gilbert’s brain compatible dance education and emphasizes creativity and self-expression while strengthening mind-body connections. Amanda studied under Gilbert at the Summer Dance Institute for Teachers in Seattle, WA, and believes that everybody and every body is made for dance. She incorporates poetic forms and creative writing in her classes and her choreographies have been shown throughout the Southeast. Currently, she is on dance faculty at the University of Tampa and is a feature writer for Creative Pinellas’ Arts Coast Journal, the Tallahassee Council on Culture & Arts, DIYdancer Magazine, & ArtsATL. Amanda earned her MFA in Performance and Choreography from Florida State University, BA in Writing from the University of Tampa, and completed a year of independent study at The Ailey School in NYC.

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