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Female inmates in Belgium join in global dance challenge

Female Belgian prisoners recently took part in a “prison dance challenge“, a global initiative employing film and dance with the aim of highlighting the need for culture and movement within prisons worldwide.

With support from De Rode Antraciet, a Leuven based organisation committed to the reintegration of prisoners, the final video was released on Friday, June 21.

The project, in which 24 female detainees danced in a short film, seeks to help promote feelings of freedom and femininity amongst female prisoners, according to choreographer Seppe Baeyens, in an interview with VRT NWS.

“My intention with this project was to give the female prisoners a platform to reach the outside world from within the prison walls. I wanted to sketch an honest portrait, with an emphasis on their femininity”, said Baeyens.

Inspired by a group of female prisoners in Finland, who also created a dance video, both projects aim to highlight the need for more movement and culture within prisons.

Unlike the Finnish project, which took place outdoors, the Belgian version is filmed entirely through a small sliding window looking into various prison cells. This creates an intriguing yet disorientating effect, said Baeyens.

“As a viewer, you get the feeling that [you are] a privileged witness … you also feel a certain tension between watching and being watched,” the choreographer remarked.

The final project has been released on YouTube.

Madeleine Fletcher
The Brussels Times

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