Undanced Dances Through Prison Walls During a Pandemic
In 2016, choreographer and Scripps faculty member Suchi Branfman began a five-year choreographic residency inside the California Rehabilitation Center, a medium-security state men’s prison in Norco, California. The project, dubbed “Dancing Through Prison Walls,” developed into a critical dialogue about freedom, confinement, and methods for surviving restriction, limitations, and denial of liberty through the act of dancing. The dancing abruptly ended in March 2020, when the California state prison system shut down programming and visitation due to Covid-19. The work was rapidly revised, and the incarcerated dancers began sending out written choreographies from their bunks to the outside world. The resulting performance of deeply imagined choreographic pieces, Undanced Dances Through Prison Walls During a Pandemic, will highlight six of the dances written inside the prison by Brandon Alexander, Richie Martinez, Landon Reynolds, and Terry Sakamoto Jr. With artistic direction by Suchi Branfman, and narrated by Marc Antoni Charcas, Ernst Fenelon Jr., Richie Martinez, Romarilyn Ralston, and Terry Sakamoto Jr. (formerly incarcerated movers and organizers) and choreographically interpreted/performed by the brilliant Bernard Brown, Jay Carlon, Irvin Gonzalez, Leo Manzari, Richie Martinez, Brianna Mims, and Tom Tsai (who had previously joined Branfman dancing inside the Norco prison.) Join us for a roving performance throughout the Scripps campus, followed by a conversation with the artists.
This program is presented in partnership with the Scripps Dance Department, The 5C Prison Abolition Collective, and Scripps Justice Education Initiative.
Scripps College prioritizes the health and safety of its community members and is following the guidance of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for outdoor gatherings. Adherence to these guidelines will be strictly enforced during the event.