This program is designed to enhance teen and pre-teen abilities to write and perform spontaneous poetry. Better known as spoken-word poetry or hip hop, spontaneous poetry integrates real-world experience with improvised performance. ‘Express to Speak’ gives participants the opportunity to express themselves artistically through storytelling. Mind-mapping exercises used in this workshop are designed to open up kids to their voice, views, and passions while giving them real-life problem-solving tools.
Express to Speak was conceptualized by founder Tahj Kjelland in 2006 through the community event “A Rising Nation” in Wolf Point on the Fort Peck Sioux Assiniboine Indian Reservation. “A Rising Nation” was an in-school Hip – Hop program aimed at engaging students in the art of self expression through education and application of the arts of the four elements of Hip Hop Music.
Tahj’s gifted teaching style and skilled passion for Hip-Hop powerfully resonated with the students, administrators and community leaders. Express to Speak was born.
Since 2006, Tahj has facilitated spoken word poetry workshops and recorded original music with thousands of young artists across Montana. Through generous support from the MT Office of Public Instruction and Humanities Montana, Express to Speak has developed its programming and deepened its foundation to include evidence-based social work theory and practice.
Using spoken word, poetry, creative writing, self-expression, dialogue and dynamic performance, Express to Speak provides the tools for youth to express themselves using their own words. Participants find, ignite, and reinforce their passion for life and they apply their Express to Speak experience to their education, artistry and future dreams.