INMATE DANCE OUTREACH
We never know how many people to expect or who will show up when we enter the jail each week. Many of the incarcerated women we dance with are mothers and when we work with finding movement for their goals, they give us dances of reuniting with their children and families. The dance of recovery and sobriety often shows up.
Sometimes women join us just to escape their bunks, wanting to top each other, and demanding the music they like. By the end of class, they leave discovering a little more about themselves and feeling more relaxed and alive. This was the very first program we started, and we have also been struck by how dance connects people even in a contentious setting like jail.
It’s deeply moving to see barriers dissolve and diversity thrive as African American, Hispanic, Caucasian and Chinese women who speak little to no English dance, laugh, and support one another as one community.
- Read an article in SF Gate about our movement class at SF County Jail
- Watch a dance inspired by the movements of female inmates and choreographed by Sylvie Minot.
Current sites: SF County Women’s Jail, SF County Jail - Transgender Unit
Past sites: Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin
“Moving my body while connecting to my emotions is such a powerful way to heal. I am happy this was the group we had for my last year at the jail.”
“We had three deputies dancing in our chaos circle, and I impulsively asked them to go in to the center and let us hold them, thinking they would never do it. To my surprise they went into the center, the inmates held the outside and they all LOVED it. The experience is still with me.”
“After we had moved so much together, it feels like the stillness just naturally emerges connecting us. I feel a real peace that seems to blossom from the center of our circle, grows and swells around us, and permeates in to the rest of the jail.”