On June 16th, approximately 75 detained youth and staff gathered in the gym in the Donald E. Long Detention Home. For more than an hour, the gym was transformed into a makeshift dance studio by the Agnieszka Laska Dancers (ALD). ALD is a non-profit dance company which has provided over 100 performances in 3 countries on 2 continents. Four of their dancers (Allegra, Niqi, Kathryn, and Heidi) volunteered to share their talents with youth in custody. In between sets, they spoke to the youth about the hard work that dancers must invest in rehearsals and the benefits of collaboration and teamwork.
Don Lincoln, Custody Services Manager, worked with Vickie Gantz, On-Call Custody Services Specialist to help bring the dance company to the youth. Both staff members participate in the Cultural Diversity Committee and thought the youth would benefit by the exposure to modern dance and other cultures. “It is important that we open their eyes to creative opportunities and new ways to express themselves,” noted Lincoln. At the end of the show, youth had the opportunity to ask questions of the dancers. Many took advantage of the opportunity to inquire about the dancers’ travel schedules, rehearsal times, and how they first got started in dance. Detention staff are now working with youth on writing thank you cards for ALD.
For more information about ALD and to learn about their upcoming performances, please refer to their website: http://aldancers.org/