Mass incarceration is a pressing issue that has received increased attention in recent years. With over 2 million people currently incarcerated in the United States, the need for creative and innovative approaches to address this problem is greater than ever. Dancing Through Prison Walls, a California-based dance and performance project, is taking up this challenge through the power of movement and storytelling.
Founded in 2016, Dancing Through Prison Walls brings together a community of incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, and “free world” dancers, choreographers, artists, and performers under the artistic direction of social practice choreographer Suchi Branfman. With a ten-year residency at the California Rehabilitation Center Prison in Norco, the project is dedicated to amplifying the voices of those affected by mass incarceration and exploring the themes of freedom, confinement, and survival through dance.
The result of this collaboration is a body of work that comprises hours of dance, choreography, performance, film, writing, and community conversations. It is a critical dialogue that invites us to consider the ways in which movement can be used as a tool for resistance and liberation. Through the act of dancing, the project’s participants find a way to break free from the physical and psychological restrictions of confinement and reclaim their freedom.
As we move towards a future that values decarceration and abolition, Dancing Through Prison Walls reminds us of the transformative power of art and movement. Whether you are a seasoned dance enthusiast or a newcomer to the art form, the project’s performances tonight and tomorrow (Feb 10 and 11th) at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble offer a unique opportunity to engage with this important issue and support a cause that is vital to our society.
To learn more about Dancing Through Prison Walls and its mission, visit their website at https://www.dancingthroughprisonwalls.org/about. Don’t miss your chance to experience this powerful performance and support the fight for a more just and equitable world.