Award of Merit – Undanced Dances Through Prison Walls During a Pandemic (USA)

Title: Undanced Dances Through Prison Walls During a Pandemic 
Runtime: 36 min
Country: USA
Director: Suchi Branfman, Tom Tsai
Placement: Award of Merit
Competition: September, 2021

Synopsis: In 2016, choreographer and educator, 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 ways 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 collection of deeply imagined choreographic pieces, written between March and May of 2020, became Undanced Dances Through Prison Walls During a Pandemic.