From the moment the idea of dancing in women’s prisons came to us, this process has been filled with magic. I was sitting with Gayle at Alchemy of Movement, chatting about Alchemy becoming a nonprofit when she casually said, “You could make a nonprofit wing off of Alchemy…I don’t maybe you dance with women in prison.”
That’s all it took. That moment reminded me of when Elizabeth Gilbert spoke at Emerging Women last Fall where she talked about her new book, “Big Magic.” She described the mystery of creativity – how creative ideas and thoughts are sort of floating around looking for vessels to come through. That is exactly how it felt that day with Gayle, sitting in the front room of Alchemy. The energy was hovering and came thrusting forward through us. And, it is not personal. It’s just creativity looking for motion and commitment.
Since that moment, we have had of course many challenges and road blocks, yet there is a huge amount of grace. Who would have thought a maximum-security women’s prison would say, “Sure, teach our inmates how to dance to Eminem, Tupac and Beyonce.” They were so willing to experiment with us. Then came the grace of the Daily Camera article beautifully written by Aimee Heckle followed by our expansion into Pueblo’s medium-security women’s prison.
Most recently, Gayle and I were at a conference in Lincoln, NE on nonprofit management where we had what I am calling, “Milk Dud Magic.” On the last day, minutes before we were about to head back to Boulder, I walked up to one of the sponsor’s tables because he had Milk Duds in a bowl; that was all I was interested in. After grabbing some candy, I asked him what his table was about simply to be polite. I actually didn’t care, I just wanted to be nice. He said, “We have prison inmates build benches out of metal and wood at the prisons in NE.” Wow! I said, “I teach dance in women’s prisons!” He said, “Let me give you the number of the warden of the only women’s prison in NE.”
After eleven months of dancing at Denver Women’s Correctional Facility, I have never been in correspondence with the warden in Denver. I don’t even know his name. This was MILK DUD MAGIC! A warden’s telephone number is gold!
We are now arranging an Intensive & Teacher-Training in Nebraska in July of 2016. When something is bigger than us we just have to ride the waves of never knowing where the flow is coming from and why…we just need to stay open! And, now Dance 2B Free has been invited to speak at Emerging Women this October where we will come full circle with the magic of collaboration, inspiration and female empowerment!