a group of people walking across a stage
The ReMARCable Dance Project features MARC clients with varying developmental abilities to write poetry and choreograph dances to their own words. JOHNNY WHITE/Mile 0 Key West

Kyla Piscopink has danced professionally on some of the country’s most esteemed stages. She has collaborated and choreographed with top artists and defied gravity acrobatically on the sidelines of NFL games as a Buffalo Bills cheerleader.

But ask the founder of Dance Key West about some of her favorite projects and she beams without hesitation while describing the ReMARCable Dance Project, an outreach program that partners with the Monroe Association of Remarkable Citizens (MARC), a local nonprofit that supports adults with developmental disabilities.

Now in its fifth year, the ReMARCable Dance Project invites MARC clients, all with varying abilities, to explore the arts through poetry, music and dance, and then perform their works in front of an audience on Saturday, April 20 at 4 p.m. at a recital entitled “Poetry in Motion” at The Studios of Key West. 

“This year we have 17 MARC clients involved,” Piscopink told the Keys Weekly. “They each write their own poem with the help of local artists Cricket Desmarais and B. Lucy Stevens, and then I work with them to choreograph a dance that exemplifies their poem.”

At the ReMARCable Dance performance, the poems will be read by the Emmy-nominated actor Steve Burns, who hosted the popular kids’ show “Blue’s Clues” from 1996 to 2002 and has appeared recently in “Young Sheldon” as Star Trek enthusiast Nathan. He’s a longtime friend of Piscopink.

“All the clients’ poems are different lengths, from several stanzas to just a few lines,” Piscopink said. “But they’ll each have about two to three minutes to perform their dance in concert with their words. And God, they love to dance. They’d each be on stage for 10 minutes if time permitted. There’s such an amazing innocence and authenticity with these clients. This is absolutely one of my all-time favorite projects.”

There’s no hesitation, no fear and no self-consciousness with the MARC clients when they get on stage, she said.

“Throughout the process, while they’re writing their poems and then choreographing their dances, I try to teach them some of the basic vocabulary of ballet and jazz dance. I had one client who wanted to learn tap, so I brought in a tap teacher, and now that client is a tap dancer, with her own shoes and steps and everything,” said Piscopink, who’s grateful to The Studios of Key West for providing the performance venue.

Admission is a $15 donation to MARC, but MARC staff, clients and their families get in free.

Mandy Miles
Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.