2. Staff Bios
3. Essential Facts and Interesting Tidbits
5. Past press coverage links
6. Contact person for more info and/or to schedule interviews.
Included downloads for Dropbox file:
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Headshot of Lucy Wallace
Candid shots from work in prisons Videos
Dance To Be Free is changing the trajectory of women in prison nationwide through the healing power of collective Dance!
Lucy Wallace founded Dance To Be Free (DTBF) in the Spring of 2015 at Denver Women’s Correctional Facility. Along with her Board of Directors, they’ve designed and implemented the DTBF program for hundreds of incarcerated women in Colorado, Nebraska, Washington, Arkansas, and Hawaii!
We use dance to change the trajectory of women in prison. Our dance technique heals trauma through empowering, expressive, collective movement. Our work aligns with other causes you support, including: economic inclusivity for previously incarcerated people, empowering women and physical/mental wellness.
We are working in 8 prisons in 5 states – with plenty of demand to reach further in 2018. We’ve got momentum.
During the training we address the practical and leadership skills needed to become a dance teachers and in the process, inmates work through trauma locked up in their bodies. For women nearing the end of their sentence, these changes will positively affect their reentry experience.
We have certified over 200 inmates as dance teachers who can hold space, connect, inspire, choreograph and lead a DTBF class. The goal is to have the inmates sustain the program, offering each other classes during the week when DTBF is not present. If they are going to be released in the near future, they will leave prison with a tangible skill to bring back to their community.
Lucy Wallace, Founder
Lucy bought Alchemy of Movement (AOM) in January 2010, a dance studio in Boulder, CO, after receiving her master’s degree in Psychology. Her Psychological background led to the birth of Dance To Be Free due to the therapeutic and cathartic quality of her teaching style.
In March of 2015, Lucy founded Dance To Be Free along with her Board of Directors. Dance 2B Free’s mission is to share the healing power of dance with women in prison nationwide. The cathartic choreography and passionate music leads to physical, spiritual and emotional healing without the burden of talking
Essential Facts & Interesting Tidbits
Recidivism is a core criminal justice concern. The Bureau of Justice Statistics states: “Nationally, 30% of adult offenders released from state prisons are re-arrested within the first six months of their release. Within three years of their release, 67% of ex-offenders return to prison.”
Employment and community engagement are critical factors determining long-term success of released inmates. We aim to reduce the high rate of recidivism by addressing the root cause of why a recently released inmate would return to prison: unaddressed PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder).
“57.2% of females report abuse before admission to state prisons versus 16.1% of males.” -Bureau of Justice statistics, US Dept. of Justice
Dancing is seen as a reparative experience that directly contradicts the terror, helplessness and invisibility of trauma to enable survivors to reclaim ownership of their bodies and their lives. -Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD
This quote sums up the mission of Dance To Be Free – “We have already seen and heard from the inmates at DWCF about how their social interactions have shifted since dancing together. In our recent study, we found that synchronizing with others while dancing raised pain tolerance. It also encouraged people to feel closer to others.” Bronwyn Tarr
Article in Fortune Magazine, “This Is Why Women Are the Fastest-Growing Prison Population” http://fortune.com/2015/12/10/prison-reform-women/
“6 in 10 women are in federal prison for nonviolent drug crimes. For every woman who has committed murder, there are 99 drug offenders.” – Amos Irwin Chief of Staf at the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
PTSD increases risk of criminal recidivism among justice-involved person with mental disorders. –Criminal Justice and Behavior 2014
“As the former Warden at DWCF, seeing this program bring tears of joy. Thank you Lucy and Gayle!” Dona Zavislan
“Everyone had so much fun and loved Lucy and Gayle! Whoever sees this and and is a Warden at a Women’s facility needs to contact these ladies. They change lives!” Denis Skrobecki, Warden at NCCW
When I dance I’m saying: “See me. I’m a free bird. My crime doesn’t deZine me. I’m a beautiful person, get to know me. This is the best thing that has happened to me during my incarceration.: Justeen, NCCW
“I don’t feel like I’m in prison for an hour on a Sunday, and I love that. I love the normalcy of that …. you don’t feel so alone.” C. Hardy
Past Press Coverage
By Winnie Wright , KTHV, 7/27/2017
“Behind bars isn’t a place you expect to see many smiles. It’s a sedentary life style with a clock on your back, counting down the hours until time served.
To pass the time and work through some of their pain and anger, the women of Wrightsville have turned to dance. Now they smile.”
By JoAnne Young, Lincoln Journal Star, 7/26/2016
“They found their freedom in prison-issue grey T-shirts and shorts, white socks and tennis shoes.
They learned to move in unison, mentally dance themselves outside the locked gates, liberate their better selves.”
Boulder dance program offers women in prison a taste of ‘freedom’
By Aimee Heckel, Boulder Daily Camera, 11/29/2015.
“This is what max security looks like.
Through a metal detector into a locked holding area, into an outdoor holding area lined with barbed wire hoops.”