Dance 2B Free Updates!

By Gayle Nosal

1. The experience in Nebraska at the NCCW was over-the-moon marvelous. The warden: welcoming. sweet. supportive. hugging. had lunch with us! The rec center head, Shar Most: even more of all of the above about the warden. Shar spent every moment with us, from meeting us at the door, to holding our locker keys, getting copies made or releases, organizing our ‘press conference on the last day, and best of all, commenting on the training, the curriculum, the growth of the women as dancers. The women in the training: all 12 of them were dedicated, determined, playful, brave, sweating, curious, inspiring. the women in the General Population classes (one was outside in the prison yard! one was in the gym): sweaty, respectful, dedicated, ‘doing it wrong and doing it right’, eager for more.

There were two newspapers present on the last day. You’ve probably seen the links to the wonderful articles and photos.

We were allowed to bring in my handicam, for two full days. We have about 3 dozen still photos and 7+ hours of video.

For two of the days, a fantastically beautiful, humble and sweet dancer named Jessica Connelly, from Lincoln—a friend of SoulSweat’s Jen Stanzel—worked alongside us. She fell in “big like” with the women and the D2BF program and decided to get involved as a volunteer for D2BF at NCCW. The women at the prison were thrilled to hear Jessica will be returning one Sunday a month starting August and going through November. Way cool.

We have pre and post survey data from the 12 women in this program that our marvelous intern, Eleana Chase, is summarizing.

We plan to return in the fall for the TT follow up, and to do more filming…and from the warden: “Everyone had so much fun and loved Lucy and Gayle! Whoever sees this and is a Warden at a Women’s facility needs to contact these ladies. They change lives!!” Denise Skrobecki

We are also working on reviewing all of the handicam footage and creating promo videos!

2. We just completed part II of the TT at La Vista. Wow. Another wondrous experience. The women reported dancing to the videos at least two times a week, recruiting others, and requesting a dedicated D2BF class time—which they finally got: they will hold classes on Monday nights for the general population. They each had also done a great job memorizing one song. We held a GP class on Sunday and the TT women led the class, each one going up front to lead the dance/song they’d memorized. We also choreographed another song with them. Very fun. And we have even more positive, affirmative testimonials from them about the huge impact the D2BF program has brought to them.
“There’s never been a program like this and it’s a movement…every women’s prison should have it.” “I’ve learned that committing to a movement is the same as committing to my life, and that transitions in the dance are like transitions in my life—you gotta do those fully, too.” “I lost a part of myself when I got to prison but through D2BF, I’ve found it again.”

Several women in this group have told us they are transitioning in the next few months to work release and/or halfway houses, even in Boulder and Denver. They have a HUGE interest in moving the D2BF program forward at the halfway houses. We need to talk as a group about our thoughts, strategically, regarding whether/how to support the women we’ve trained to take the program outward.

3. We’ve connected with a lovely, beautiful dancer named Savethri from India who is in Boulder for a few months. She brings dance to women in India who have been subjected to sex trafficking. She’s learning about the D2BF program, attending Lucy’s classes, and will be attending a GP Sunday class at DWCF as well as one of the Tuesday TT classes to learn more about the program and to develop ways she can collaborate and bring the D2BF model to women in India. Cool, no?

4. We’ve been invited to participate in a really cool workshop in Denver on August 15 through WorldDenver and the State Department. The workshop is for 11 people  from Tunisia who have been selected by the State Department because they are new leaders in effort to use the arts to counter terrorism and extremism. They will be in Denver to learn from various organizations how to use the arts to mediate terrorism and extremism. It’s super cool.

We will present on August 15 between 10 – 12, sharing, in summary, the principles and practices of D2BF. It’s so exciting! We’ll have a 30 minute D2BF class, then a sampling of the TT curriculum, then a group choreography experience because we’ve been told a few of the participants are dancers and choreographers in Tunisia.

5. We were interviewed by KGNU while we were at the Women Powering Change event. You’ll be able to listen to this when it airs August 11. Please Share!

6. Lucy is speaking at an event in Denver on August 5th that spotlights non-profits in Colorado – called Denver Open Media where Lucy will be interviewed, live for 5-7 minutes answering questions about our mission, history, goals etc!

Stay tuned as we return to Nebraska in late September!