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Special Report: Dance to be free

Posted at 11:41 AM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-09 08:30:51-05

A program at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women in York is taught by inmates for inmates.  It is all about using dance as a form of therapy. 

The brains behind the idea of therapy through dance is Lucy Wallace from Colorado. In 2015, Wallace started Dance to be Free for inmates at a Denver Women's Prison. 

"I knew the combo of expressive, cathartic, emotional choreography, would be able to help them release pain without having to talk about it," Wallace said. 

Wallace soon branched out of Colorado and started training inmates as instructors. Nebraska was her first stop out of state.

Now the twice-a-week activity is a favorite at NCCW, serving as a healthy way to express emotions.

For lifelong dancer Miranda Gilett, being an instructor has given her meaning and motivation. 

"I learned how to have a voice for myself and I want that voice to be positive in the community that I go back into," she said.  

Inmate Hollie Chambers says dancing has helped her tame her tempter.  She loves the feeling she gets from moving around and she hopes to be dancing with her daughters when she paroles later this year. 

Sarah Cullen was 25 when she was sentenced to 70 years to life for intentional child abuse resulting in death. Now, she's channeling her remorse and regret into rhythm. 

"I just want people to see the humanity behind these walls," Cullen said, "because we have a lot to give and I am determined to give that from here."