Blue Moves performs site-specific work at Shelby Parks’ Centennial

Choreographers Amanda Cantrell Roche and Holly Cannon-Hesse were commissioned to create a site-specific piece performed as part of Shelby Parks 100th Year Celebration on October 13, 2012.  Blue Moves’ site was Cave Spring just below the tennis courts, and the company combined spoken word and movement to highlight significant moments in the park’s history and the city’s journey through challenging and joyful times as reflected through events and stories related to Shelby Park. Performances looped between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and noon. Other groups who participated are the Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville, Company Rose, FALL and Nashville Ballet 2 at specific sites between Cave Springs and the lake. The event was free and also featured live music, visual art, a historical exhibit and Mayor Karl Dean’s dedication of a new sculpture.

Blue Moves at Cave Springs


Blue Moves at Nashville’s SIDESHOW Fringe Festival Aug. 3

Blue Moves revives an old rep favorite, “Eraserhead,” for a Fringe Sampler Friday, August 3 2012 at Belmont’s Black Box theater. This whimsical, theatrical piece explores the increasingly bizarre staycation, brought to life by the lyrics of former Kids in the Hall player Bruce McCulloch, of a man who describes his annual ritual as thus:  “Once a year I get drunk in a darkended house, for a week. I get drunk and watch ‘Eraserhead.’ ”

Tickets for the sampler show, which includes a variety of performing artists, are $10, and also require the one-time purchase of a Fringe button for $5.  The show is 10:30 p.m. For schedule info on all the Fringe performances, visit

Blue Moves premiers two new works at Women’s Work 2012

Blue Moves is pleased to return to Tennessee Women’s Theater Project’s  Women’s Works and will be debuting two dances. Ren McGraw makes her full company choreographic debut with her abstract contemporary piece, “Untitled,” and Rachel Flores Talliaferro premiers a new lyrical dance. Blue Move s shares the stage with choreographer Marci Murphree, Erin Rehberg with Core Project Chicago and Husted Dance, hooper Kristen Teffeteller Leophard, belly dancer Reischa Feuerbacher and company.


Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Looby Theater, 7:30 p.m. Admission $5

2301 Rosa L Parks Boulevard  Nashville, TN 37228


For more info on the entire Women’s Works Festival, click here.

Blue Moves’ Amanda Cantrell Roche makes “Confluence” public

Two years after the water dance film short was conceived and almost a year after its premier at Tennessee Womens’ Theater Project’s “Women’s Work 2011,” Amanda Cantrell Roche released “Confluence” publicly on YouTube in early April 2012.

“This film is really best viewed on the big screen with some live dance accompaniment,” explains Roche, “but I thought it was time to make it widely available on the internet.”


Choreography and concept:  Amanda Cantrell Roche with improvisational contributions by the dancers

Videographer and editor:  Mallory Mapes

Videographer:  Ernie Gray

Music Composition and Recording:  J. Ray Sparks


Members of Blue Moves perform at Untitled’s “Antifreeze” December 9th, 2011

Holly, Renata and Amanda are performing three site-specific pieces at Untitled’s winter show, “Antifreeze” on Friday, December 9th 2011 from 6-10 p.m. at Marathon Village. Two pieces are semi improvisational and one is a complete improv. Like Blue Moves, Untitled is a collective of artists which has been around for two decades.  Whereas our art form is dance, theirs is visual art. The show features work by dozens of local artists, as well as short performances and free drinks.

For more information, visit the Untitled website.

“Confluence” at the SIDESHOW Fringe Festival, September 30th

Blue Moves presents the dance film “Confluence,” with some live action dance, at the SIDESHOW Fringe Festival, Belmont’s Black Box Theater on Friday, September 30th 2011 at 8 p.m., just prior to Company Rose’s performance of their Warhol-inspired piece, “Serendipity 3.” After having trekked to Asheville for a couple of years to perform in that city’s Fringe Festival, Blue Moves is pleased to be a part of  Fringe in their own town.

“Confluence” premiered in May at “Women’s Works 2011” and was also performed in Blue Moves’ recent production, “Deep Blue” at the Darkhorse Theater. It explores soul mates, loss and commitment. The film is the brainchild of Blue Moves co-founder Amanda Cantrell Roche.

“In the spring of 2010, I was yearning for a fresh choreographic challenge,” Amanda relates.  “One day I had this sudden knowing that I needed to do a piece in water. The distance and difficult accessibility of the place I chose made a live performance unrealistic, but film was a wonderful way to bring a river into the theater. Water has such a rich tapestry of symbolism, and for me, it is a metaphor for love, for immersing oneself in life, standing strong in the current, sometimes fighting it, sometimes being carried by the flow but always connected to the vigor, the awareness and the immersion of the river of life.”

Amanda is thankful to the many talented individuals who came together to make this project possible:  Mallory Mapes, film editor and videographer, Ernie Gray, videographer; J.Ray Sparks; music composition and recording; Holly, Kristen, Christy, Valerie, Rachel and Stephanie for dancing and making improvisational contributions, and Thomas Roche as grip.


What’s Happening — “Deep Blue” and fountain dancing

Blue Moves presents “Deep Blue,” a dance and multi-media performance inspired by water at the Darkhorse Theater in Nashville, Friday, August 26th, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 adult/$5 with a student ID. CASH OR CHECK ONLY PLEASE!

“Deep Blue” features four new dances, a monologue and a film by Blue Moves members, as well as guest choreographer Marci Murphree, all related to that flowing, powerful, exquisite, destructive, cleansing element ~ water.  Through an open call for water-themed art the company selected musician Uncle Don Clark, visual artists Mary Sartain, Amanda Damaschun and Michael Grine, poet Solita Morris and dancer/videographer Mary LaBianca to be a part of the production. Just-added musical guest artist is Kristen Hubbard. The company has thoroughly enjoyed playing and dancing in water, literally and metaphorically, in the process of creating this show.

Debuting are Holly Cannon-Hesse’s Waiting for Calm Seas and Rachel Taliaferro’s Rain Dance. Cannon-Hesse is dedicating her work to her mother, who she says has been stuck at that point between the ebb and flow due to health issues and is now seeking calm seas. The performance also includes two short films, Mary LiBianca’s  Adapting, and Cantrell-Roche’s Confluence which premiered at Women’s Work 2011. Confluence is Blue Moves’ first foray into film as well as dancing in water. Jacqueline Springfield will perform an original monologue inspired by the website Plenty of Fish.

Angela Armstrong’s Eye of the Storm and Valerie Hackworth’s The Translator will be making their Nashville premiers. Armstrong’s work delves into the spiritual, meteorological, and physical characteristics the term storm connotes.  The Translator, asks us “to think about how  water shows us the invisible wind and reveals the shape of the land,” explains Hackworth.

Additional guest artists include photographer Michael Reagan, whose work will be featured in a slide show before the performance, and musician Scott Carter and Dria Cook Carter performing at an after event. Audience members are invited to join the company and members of Good Food for Good People in their Community Garden next to the LOVE building  immediately after the show for an informal wine reception and interactive water art. The LOVE building is located directly behind the Darkhorse Theater.

For reservations, call 615 300-8580.

Check our Facebook Profile for an invitation and updates.

photos by Michael Reagan

You never know where you’ll see dance this summer. Follow us on Twitter — BlueMovesDance — to hear about random and short improvisational performances in public water fountains!



Past Events

Blue Moves will be premiering “Confluence,” a short dance film, at Tennessee Women’s Theater Project “Women’s Work 2011” Festival Saturday, May 14th at the Looby Theater in Nashville, 7:30 p.m. This project was filmed in June of 2010 at Rutledge Falls and is Blue Moves’ first foray into dance in water, as well as for film. Thanks to all who contributed as dancers, videographers, music composers, film editor, equipment haulers and inspiration. We had a great time making this project.

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Watch The Making of  “Confluence” — outtakes and behind the scenes

We’ve been thinking about water quite a bit lately, and our next show will explore water imagery, its power, its metaphors. “Deep Blue,” a dance and multi-media exploration of water, will be performed on Friday, August 26th, 7:30 p.m. at the Darkhorse Theater in Nashville.

Check us out on Facebook. We thought our group was more of a personality than an organization, so you’ll just need to friend us.


Blue Moves, We have…

From the 20th Anniversary Show.

Written by Amanda Cantrell Roche.  Published in Nashville Skyline.

Dancing through the Storms

The subject line reads “more ways you influence my life.” The email is short, but I know exactly the space from which it is written. She is in her cubical in the MTSU library, poised in front of her computer with a knowing smile, soaking in the rhythms of the earth through the brick and glass walls:

“I’m at work and it’s thundering outside. I keep waiting for the ‘Timeless’ music to start”

The message is from a friend and dancer in a company I founded twenty years ago. The dance to which she refers is a piece of choreography created seventeen years ago, and recently revived for the company’s 20-year celebration. It is one of several dances that address milestones in my life, and it begins with the rumble of thunder. This one was born of my struggles to retain my identity when I married at the age of 23. Over the years the piece has evolved to incorporate my views on world religions and a yearning for spirituality both rooted in the earth and philosophically engaging.

Reviving this piece and planning for a retrospective event celebrating 20 years of Blue Moves Modern Dance Company has given me cause to look back over the history of this group. I laugh, smile and cry as I revisit molding VHS tapes that offer, through the pale medium of low-budget videography and lifeless technology, a picture of the dances this group has performed over the last two decades. My choreography is like a timeline of my life – oh yes, that is when Mary died, and this one was when Ella was born, and I choreographed this one after 911, my second child at my breast, as a protest to the bombing of Afghanistan.

Sorting through boxes of old programs, photos and press clippings with two close friends — company co-founder Lee Anne and Angela, who has danced with us since the company’s infancy — I find an article from a local paper, browned with age, brittle, cracked edges. My 19-year-old voice speaks to me from the past through the printed page:  “We’re hoping this company will be a creative outlet for local dancers and that it will continue after we graduate.”

How could I possibly know at that age that I would hang on to this company and to the people who made it for two decades? How we would endure through the storms in all of our lives, and use dance to get us through? Choreography is my therapy – the outlet to which I turn when the lightning strikes, when torrents of rain and despair wash over me. It is how I said goodbye to a dear friend who died of breast cancer at the age of 32. How I expressed my grief at the slow, painful passing of my grandmother as Alzheimer’s ate her brain. It was one way in which I acknowledged the horrific but heroic journey through my husband’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, and how I admitted my feelings of, at times, being smothered by motherhood as I nurtured a toddler and carried a child in my womb. And when anger at injustices threatens to burn a hole in me, it is how I continue to rage at human rights abuses in Tibet, in Burma, and throughout the world as people become “the disappeared,” and here in Middle Tennessee, as police abuse their power.

And thus, for all the dancers and choreographers in Blue Moves who have weathered the last ten or twenty years with me, this is for you:


We have danced to bring light to wrongs in this world, to help us through loss, to celebrate our blessings, and sometimes just to provoke a smile, a laugh or a nod of understanding. We have become mothers, aunts, and even grandmothers, fathers and uncles. We have endured illness, depression, loss of jobs, divorce, loss of opportunities. We have celebrated graduations, weddings, births, divorces and many accomplishments. We have said goodbye to loved ones, to parents, to children. We have experienced injuries to our instruments; have endured knee surgeries, torn ligaments, slipped discs, shoulder displacement, sprained ankles. We have danced with babies in our wombs, ruptured cysts in our ovaries, with toddlers on our hips, and even along side the woman who holds the title of being the first Blue Moves offspring. We have been there for each other when one of us was in need, we have shared in each others’ joys and pain, danced at each other’s weddings, held each other at funerals. We have had parties to make beaded jewelry, which we hawked like gypsies on the lawn of the MTSU campus to purchase paltry costumes. We have overindulged on Zima, provided in lieu of payment to dance around like fools in 70s costumes at a rave few braved to attend during a February snowstorm. We have forsaken sunny walks in the park on Sunday afternoons to commune together in the dance studio and sometimes, afterwards on summer nights, to drink sangria on the patio of La Siesta, our favorite Mexican restaurant. We have produced shows with no budget, layed out and rolled up Marley floors, hung curtains, swept stages, created choreography, costumes, flyers and cookbooks. We have danced down a two-story escalator twirling silver lamẽ flags at Nashville’s ArtRageous, and performed in back yards, bars and theaters of all sizes.

We have never even considered writing bylaws or answering to a board of directors in order to finance our art.

We have danced, we have lived, loved and endured, and in the process we have grown into our skins and our souls, and formed a tribe whose story will resonate in us for the rest of our days.