In 2019 Helena ran a dance and choreography course at HMP Wormwood Scrubs with Seacole, the mental health unit at the prison. The project was led by Helena, fellow dancer Marc Stevenson and Occupational Therapist at Seacole Jenny Joyce. We worked with a core group of 9 guys who we danced, chatted and ate with over 8 weekly sessions. The project aimed to give space for participants to be silly, expressive and vulnerable in a hostile, hyper masculine environment.
Due to the nature of prison, we couldn't photograph or film the participants much but it was paramount that their work was seen/heard/experienced outside the prison walls. So we used a sound recorder to audio describe and document dances.
These recordings were made when the group were practising flocking, which is a dance improvisation tool we worked a lot with in the sessions to get the group moving together. It's a bit like follow the leader except you're in a clump and when the "leader" turns around, someone else is at the front and they become the "leader".
1 leg, 2 arms is a game where we take it in turns to name a selection of body parts. These are the only body parts that can be in contact with the floor. In this recording you'll hear us playing this game, members of the group call out instructions and you'll hear us struggle and laugh between attempts. Try them yourself.