Lucy Wallace began Dance 2B Free, a new non-profit aimed to share the healing power of dance with women in prison.L
Wallace is the owner of Alchemy of Movement in Boulder, and has spent the last five years hearing from women in Boulder and along the Front Range how dance classes at her studio have improved their lives, specifically helping them heal from trauma and abuse.
Wallace and a few of her colleagues at the studio discussed the benefits of dance and wanted to share them with people who would be able to benefit from the classes, but are not able to attend. They then decided to focus on women in prison. With the community’s help through a kickstarter campaign, Dance 2B Free started in May 2015.
“Dancing improves our sense of well-being, and it has the power to change us profoundly. It works in ways that sometimes aren’t accessed by traditional therapy,” says Wallace.
Wallace and other volunteers teach dance classes at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility, and in just the few months, they have gotten positive feedback that the women love having the program.
The rate of recidivism, relapse into criminal behavior, in most prisons nationwide is 50 percent. By healing their trauma and instilling hope in the inmates, there is a good chance of reducing this rate. Wallace sees dance as the “healing balm” that many women need in their day-to-day lives, whether they are serving a life sentence, or will be released in a few years.
The first class Wallace taught was filled with eight women and has now grown to 45. Wallace arrives to the Facility with two pre-approved volunteers to help her with emotional support. Wallace will give the inmates an idea to focus on during the class such as “Experiment with letting go”. She starts the class out with slow, soft movements, builds to a high intensity, and ends with a yoga-type cool down.
After learning from the pilot program in Denver, Wallace hopes to expand the program into other states.
To get involved, you can visit dance2bfree.org to donate or volunteer.