Amphibian Stage Productions - Fort Worth Theatre

Tad-Poles and Outreach

Amphibian's Tad-Poles are frequently invited to perform and teach at outdoor festivals in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

is an outreach program of performance, dance, theatre, music, art, history, geography and workshops. This project has been created for at-risk children in under-served schools, community centers, and homeless shelters and has a threefold focus to:

  1. foster cultural pride and encourage cultural tolerance and collaboration
  2. give children in underserved communities the opportunity to experience the arts free of charge
  3. encourage good health through joyful physical activity

Guest artists from around the world join Amphibian each year to deepen and enrich the educational experience and deepen the impact of performances. Frequent collaborators include:

Born in Mexico City, Laura Anderson Barbata lives and works in New York and Mexico City, where she is Professor at the Escuela Nacional de Escultura, Pintura y Grabado La Esmeralda of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, México. Her transdisciplinary work has received grants and awards from Bellas Artes and FONCA. Since 1992 she has worked primarily in the social realm, and has initiated projects in the Amazon of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Norway, the USA, and Mexico. Her work is included in various private and public collections, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, the Museo de Arte Moderno Mexico City, and Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart, Germany. Barbata's book, Transcommunalities, documents her ten years working with stilt dancers around the world, for whom she designs wearable sculptures and stunning costumes.

Moussa Diabate is a master dancer, drummer, choreographer, teacher and musician and has toured Africa, Europe, Asia and the U.S. He danced with the National Ballet of Guinea (Africa) and was artistic director for National Ballet Silimbo of Senegal for many years. He also performed on Broadway, at Yale Repertory Theater and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Since 1987 he has choreographed, performed, lectured and taught extensively in the U.S., Japan, France and West Africa. He is the founder and artistic director of the Djely Kunda West African Dance Company.

Born in Mexico City, Sinuhé Padilla Isunza began his studies at the Casa de Cultura in Corporal Expression, Music, and Dance. In 1992 he began to study Nahuatl cosmogony, sacred music, and ritual dance under Master Ehekateotl Kuauhtlinxan. With his group Reptil Ensamble-Fusión he merged these disciplines with other influences such as jazz, Afro-Latin music, and trova. In 1998 he graduated from the Instituto Mexiquense de Cultura, majoring in Contemporary Dance and Choreography, and soon began teaching dance-theatre, music (guitar, percussion, jazz, ensemble techniques) at the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Mexico. Interested in researching Arab and Andalusian roots of Latin American music, Mr. Padilla went to Spain in 2000 to study Flamenco history, music and dance at the prestigious schools Amor de Dios and Conservatorio Flamenco. Four years later he traveled to South America, investigating various forms of Afro-Amerindian music in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Bolivia, where he also collaborated in various projects involving music, dance and performance. He currently lives in New York, where he leads two Latin fusion bands, Jarana Beat and Cumbiagra. This marks the third year Mr. Padilla has worked with Amphibian.

Peyrak Herrera Liévanos has been studying and performing as a stilt dancer since 2002. He received training from the Zancudos de Zaachila, and continued to research stilt dancing in various cultures in Mexico, including the ancient Aztec and Maya people. He is the Artistic Director of Teatro Pro-Alterne, a performance troupe that specializes in Mexican regional dance and stilt dancing in the style of Mexican cultures. The company also teaches workshops for at-risk children in Mexico City. He has performed in dozens of festivals, including Festival Del Desierto, Festival Cultural SEGOB, Turissste, Festival Internacional de Lerdo, Festival de Ecatepec de Morelos, Museo Diego Rivera "Anahuacalli", and many more. He was recently commissioned by the Mexican Secretary of Culture to create stilt dances based on the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico City.

Melanie Smith studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Mexico City and received further training with Mexican dancers Marina Acevedo, Marco Santana, Luz Ureña, and Cesar Bernardo Ortiz. She also studied stilting and aerial dance with Eduardo Morales in Mexico City and with Serena Vione in Barcelona, Spain. Ms. Smith has performed Mexican stilt dancing with and choreographed for Teatro Pro-Alterne since 2005. She has also performed with various other dance and theatre companies, including Fonámbules, Zaltimbanqui, Dreamshow, Monosabios, Circo del tiempo, OCESA, Comunidad Multidisciplinaria Arte SURÉ, UNORCA, UNAM, Garra Producciones, Zankers and many others.

Tad-Poles is generously sponsored by:

  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • The Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County
  • City of Fort Worth
  • Texas Commission on the Arts
  • Alcon Foundation
  • Wells Fargo Bank
  • BBVA Compass Bank
  • Target

Area schools, please
817-923-3012 or to schedule a performance.

Children from the nearby Presbyterian Night Shelter attend weekly stilt dancing classes at Amphibian's home in Fort Worth's Near Southside.

Guest artists (from left) Peyrak Herrera Lievanos, Sinuhe Padilla Isunza and Melanie Smith pose in costumes designed by Mexican Artist Laura Anderson Barbata on the grounds of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth following a free public performance on November 23, 2013.

Students and teachers wait in the wings to go onstage at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.