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CLAREMONT, CA: Dancing Through Prison Walls Presents Two Works

CLAREMONT, CA: Dancing Through Prison Walls Presents Two Works


Dancing Through Prison Walls


Jaqua Quadrangle, Scripps College
1030 N Columbia Ave
Claremont, CA 91711


Thursday, April 25, 2024 - 5:00pm



Dancing Through Prison Walls

“In a world where punishment pretends to be a solution, we all suffer the chains of inequity. In a world where we dance with, believe in, and cherish one another; we rise on wings of unity. Only together, may we be free.”
— Forrest Reyes

In March 2020, when Dancing Through Prison Walls’ ten-year choreographic residency inside the CRC Prison in Norco was put on hold due to the pandemic, artistic facilitator/director, Suchi Branfman, began an ongoing handwritten log, archiving covid positivity numbers and deaths inside the California state prisons. Unbeknownst to her at the time, this archive handwritten on pads of yellow legal paper would become the basis for this latest work, DATA or 7 ways to dance a dance through prison walls. All the while, dances written from prison bunks were being sent out, including the stunning piece that drives this performance, I Am You, written by Forrest Reyes. The profound devastation of covid inside prisons living side by side with acts of resilience and community survival.        

This interdisciplinary, multi-media piece includes both a visual installation and performance piece, which includes audience engagement, followed by conversation with the audience. Choreographically guided by Suchi Branfman in deep collaboration with the seven formerly incarcerated and “free world” performers; Marc Antoni Charcas, Ernst Fenelon Jr., Mokhtar Ferbrache, Selina Ho, Amy Oden, Tom Tsai, and Suchi Branfman, and the author, Forrest Reyes.  Including a deeply landscaped sound score created by sonic designer, Jimena Sarno, and massive set design supervised by graphic designer Kimi Hanauer – both inspired by paper - the material that holds the data and that carries the dances through prison walls. 

Also being performed is a work-in-progress version of Gaza Dances, a new performance piece set to text from inside Gaza, written since October 2023. Moving, evocative, improvisational, this new work is a message of deep love, and a cry to stop the bombing. Dancing Through Prison Walls understands that Palestinians have been living for decades in the largest open-air prison in the world, and that their struggle is our struggle.


“A virtual performance space of embodied liberation.” — Autre 

“What Suchi Branfman and the artists around her are doing is nothing short of incredible.” — Jeff Slayton, LA Dance Chronicle



Photo: Ciro Hurtado

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