Our two weekends in Pueblo’s medium-security women’s prison were beyond our expectations. We had only experienced 3 in-person classes since D2BF began one year ago. Our relationships with the inmates were nothing like the ones we had established with the inmates in Denver Women’s Correctional Facility. I was worried we would not have the impact like we had in Denver simply due to the distance. Yet, as soon as we sat down, a few of the inmates said they had been dancing with us five times a week with our DVDs.
Alice, Gayle, Cherie and I hit the road to complete phase 1 of the teacher-training over four days, four hours a day. The inmates were devoted, focused, playful and fun! The staff was supportive, welcoming and took many pics (stay tuned!).
Some gems from our writing assignments:
“I feel more open than I ever have to accepting myself just as I am. I have always struggled with genuine self-esteem. This class has opened something within me that I was afraid I would never find…the courage to be myself.” C.B. Inmate at La Vista
“I find myself (literally) letting go more and more. I used to think that gaining success and doing something important meant doing it right or perfectly. But, it’s the opposite isn’t it?” L.M. La Vista inmate
“I dance inside.
I Dance 2B Free.
I dance not for you.
I’m dancing for me.
I dance for the joy.
I dance for the pain.
I will dance in the rain.
When I Dance 2B Free,
I don’t forget that I’m here.
I remember the Beauty
I’ll return to next year.
C.B La Vista Inmate
The inmates are naturally expressing and experiencing the healing benefits of dancing in community! Since Dance 2B Free starting dancing in prison we have seen that a large portion of the volunteer programs offered in prison are faith based or cognitively driven. With Dance 2B Free, there is no dogma, agenda, or message to spread. As one inmate said, “It is not religious at all but it is filled with spirituality.”
Our time in Pueblo was a beautiful confirmation that we can take Dance 2B Free on the road and make it national! Here we come Nebraska, California and Hawaii!! Stay tuned as Lucy coordinates a SoulSweat Retreat on the Big Island in the Spring of 2017. Our goal is while we are out there retreating, Dance 2B Free will visit the Women’s Community Correctional Facility in Honolulu!