Dances for Solidarity is an ongoing project that exists in several realms simultaneously:
- It is an ongoing performance of the same 10-step dance sequence, performed by incarcerated people in solitary confinement.
- It is the co-creation of choreography between incarcerated people and those on the outside.
- It is periodic performance of this choreography for audiences, danced by professional dancers and formerly incarcerated people.
- It is the teaching and reimagining of choreography created in confinement, through workshops in prisons, juvenile detention centers, universities, public schools, and more.
Dances for Solidarity began as a letter writing campaign between artists and activists in New York and incarcerated people in Texas and Louisiana. Each letter initiated with the same 10-step Dance for Solidarity as a means to initiate a conversation around movement. The project has been in correspondence with more than 200 people incarcerated in solitary confinement through its chapters in New York and Denver.
About Sarah Dahnke
Sarah Dahnke is the director and founder of Dances for Solidarity. She is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, multimedia artist, and arts educator. She creates performance experiences that often feature non-performers, highlighting and celebrating the nuances of natural, untrained human movement. She works with public school students to facilitate the creation of their own choreography and video projects, makes giant group dances to teach to the general public, and films instructional videos to disseminate dance sequences widely.
Through Dances for Solidarity, Dahnke has been a guest lecturer/teacher at Tulane University, Princeton University, UCLA and New York University, a presenter at conferences such as Create Justice, Prison Outside, and NCA - Policing, Prisons & New Public Voices. She was an awardee of a residency/commission from A Studio in the Woods in New Orleans and is working to maintain an ongoing presence of DFS in the New Orleans area.