Our mission is to radically improve the lives of incarcerated women through the healing power of dance. Through our Trauma Informed Dance Teacher Trainings, we use "Cathartic Choreography" combined with leadership skills - to empower our graduates to conduct peer to peer programming within the prison. Throughout this transformative experience, we teach the nuts and bolts of choreography, pro social skills and group dynamics.
Just as importantly, we facilitate therapeutic journaling that nurtures introspection and self-awareness that incarcerated women often need.
We have seen this technique help our students deal with physical and mental illness, including PTSD and complex trauma. Our trainings are impacting the lives of our students by changing the prison culture from punitive to restorative.
Lucy Wallace, MA 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 15 prisons nationally. Since DTBF's first teacher training in January 2016, DTBF has certified 449 incarcerated women.
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 mental health.
"As the former Warden at Denver Women's Correctional Facility, seeing this program bring tears of joy. Thank you Lucy!" Dona Zavislan
"Everyone had so much fun and loved Lucy! 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 Nebraska Correctional Center for Women
"When I dance I'm saying: 'See me. I'm a free bird. My crime
doesn't define me. I'm a beautiful person, get to know me. This
is the best thing that has happened to me during my
incarceration..." Justeen, DTBF Graduate at Nebraska Correctional Center for Women
"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, DTBF Graduate
"DTBF is more than dance. It's a movement of the mind, body and soul. It helps the participants to release the old and grab the new." Janice Gray, Volunteer Director at East Central Arkansas Community Correction Center
"Watching the transformation of inmates when they were realizing themselves, the change in them and talking about how it was helping them release. The emotions were coming out and it was helping them do it in a positive way, and they were admitting the activity really helped them. Warden at South Dakota's prison
"The other day they were talking about being a rainbow over someone's cloud, and this has been my rainbow... Because being in prison and being incarcerated, it could get a little dark. You could be going through a hard time, but coming to this, it just opens your spirit. I've gotten so much lifted off of me. I go back to the block peaceful. It's been a blessing for them to do all this and even be involved in this group. It's a blessing." Tori, South Dakota Women's Prison