Female prisoners from Vanaja Prison invite everybody to dance

Published 28.6.2018

A dance project involving female prisoners from Vanaja Prison was kicked off in March 2018. During the project, the participants created and rehearsed a dance piece, which was filmed in the surroundings of the women's unit of Vanaja Prison in June. The video was released on YouTube on 27 June.

The dance project is a natural continuation of the theatre projects that have been part of Vanaja Prison's activities for a long time. Vanaja Prison together with a theatre association called Taittuu ry have been pioneers in making professional theatre productions together with the prisoners. They have produced such theatre performances every two years since 2008.

Cultural activities are part of the persistent rehabilitative activities arranged for female prisoners in Vanaja Prison. As female prisoners typically have burdensome and traumatic backgrounds in Finland, applying a variety of different kinds of interventions is essential for their rehabilitation and future without crime.

The purpose of the dance project was to give the female prisoners an opportunity to express themselves in a new, more physical manner. Just as in the theatre projects, the goal was to learn essential skills that help to cope in society, such as perseverance, teamwork, giving and receiving feedback and, of course, to give them a sense of success.

The dance group consisted of 13 female prisoners, who rehearsed the choreography created under the guidance of the dance instructors Tea Geitel and Hannakaisa Länsisalmi from McDanze Dance School. Between the joint rehearsals, the dancers practised by themselves in the prison. As right from the start the aim of the project was to create a video that would be widely distributed on YouTube and other social media, it was important to get a professional look and execution for the video. Paola and Pirjo Suhonen from Ivana Helsinki joined the project by providing the dancers with the dresses. Paola Suhonen also directed, shot, and edited the video.

Inspired by this successful project, we now want to invite all female prison units across the world to create their own dance videos. With our dance video, we want to promote the significance of both cultural activities and the general prison conditions that genuinely support the rehabilitation in prison, especially when it comes to female prisoners.

Further information:
Vanaja Prison, Prison Director Kaisa-Tammi Moilanen, kaisa.tammi-moilanen(at)om.fi, tel. +358 50 384 9117
Ivana Helsinki, Pirjo Suhonen, pirjo(at)ivanahelsinki.com , tel. +358 50 347 6131
McDance dance school, Tea Geitel , tea.geitel(at)mcdanze.fi, tel. +358 50 538 4485

Link to the video: https://youtu.be/wzC206VfCqQ