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Center for Arts in Medicine

Community Engagement

Program Description:

“We Are Here” is a three-month artist residency at Alachua Academy in Gainesville, Florida. Professional artists of different disciplines (Dance, Theatre and Poetry/Creative Writing) work with young women to offer arts activities for skill building and creative expression. The classes and rehearsals culminate in a performance to offer a platform for the youths to create collaboratively with the artists. Through acting, dance and poetry prompts, the young women are empowered to express their unique voices with honesty, integrity and clarity.  The process is inspiring and transformative.

About the Facility:

Alachua Academy is a moderate risk, staff secure program for adolescent girls. The staff at Alachua use evidence-based program models to provide treatment and services, including a focus on Substance Abuse intervention. Programming also includes both an academic and vocational component as well as GED preparation, provided through a cooperative agreement with the Alachua School District. Behavioral Health Overlay Services (BHOS) are available at Alachua Academy.

Program Structure:

The program meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for 1.5 hours.  The first month is dedicated to games, exercises and free expression to create safety and a sense of ensemble within the group.  Each day is dedicated to a different discipline:  Monday-Poetry, Wednesday-Acting and Friday-Dance.  The next two months are about development of the performance, including collaboration in concept development, script writing, choreography, song writing and staging.  The last two weeks are dedicated to intensive rehearsals ending in a final performance for family, friends and the public.

Program Goals:

  1. To honor the voices of incarcerated youths in an open and safe environment.
  2. To create a piece of performance that showcases the strengths of the individual and collective through her/their stories.
  3. To encourage a healthy sense of self through the creative arts and to offer the arts as a tool for creative expression, coping and positive action.
  4. To facilitate exercises that enable reflection on past experiences and help to re-imagine and empower a bright future.
  5. To maintain a high level of artistic integrity throughout the creation and performance of a show

Instructor Biographies

Kate Pope

Kate Pope is a choreographer, teacher and dance activist originally from the South Eastern United States. She believes dance is an inclusive, multi-generational, and multicultural form that serves as a redemptive and healing force for society and herself. Kate graduated from the University of Florida with a BFA in Dance and a certificate of Dance in Healthcare from the UF Center for Arts in Medicine. She is the co-artistic director of Second Story, a dance company founded in Gainesville FL in 2013. Kate has taught dance in Juvenile Detention Facilities since 2012 through UF Health and Shands Arts in Medicine and VSAFL. In 2013-14 Kate designed and implemented dance and performance for mixed ability movers in seven schools across North Central Florida. Her work, mom plz help me, based on youth injustice, has been performed across the state of Florida and in New York City. mom plz help me was awarded the Dean’s Award at the University Gallery Juried Art Exhibition and second place in C.A.S.E. Creativity in Arts and Sciences program, as well as recognized at the ACDFA Gala in the South Eastern Conference at USF. Kate Pope is a performer and improviser in dance and life!

Rachel Roman

Rachel Roman has her MFA in poetry from the Ohio State University. She is currently an Adjunct Artist in Residence at the UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine program, and she works closely with the UF College of Medicine Medical Humanities department.

Amanda Schlachter

Amanda Schlachter is a third year MFA Acting Candidate at The University of Florida.  She has currently been on internship with The Center for Arts in Medicine.  Amanda has been fortunate to work in the theatre in multiple capacities including actor, director and teacher. As a director, her credits include:  two seasons with  Kaleidoscope (Picture This & Unwritten) a partnership with Asolo Rep and Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities; The gg Monologues; Sarasota Actor’s Workshop. As an actor, Amanda has performed with The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, The gg Monologues, and Florida Studio Theatre (New Play Festival), As an instructor Amanda has had the opportunity of teaching with Asolo Rep, The Players Theatre, The Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, New York Film Academy, The International Performing Arts Academy and Girl Scouts of America.  Educational experiences include: The American Academy of Dramatic Arts; graduate and company member, BFA from The University of Central Florida, The Orlando Shakespeare Theatre’s internship program and certification in Tai Chi and Beth Rigby’s Yoga Meets Dance.

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