Art is powerful. It can heal the soul, and it transcends all ethnic and social boundaries.
And this mesmerizing video from the famous Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) in the Philippines demonstrates just that.
You may have heard of this maximum security prison, which incorporates dance therapy in helping rehabilitate violent prisoners. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. Dance therapy? In a prison? Yes! And it’s glorious.
The CPDRC first went viral when it posted a video of inmates dancing to “Thriller” on Youtube ten years ago. That first production has now been watched by more than 57.9 million people. The prison went on to post many other dance videos.
However, one particular performance stood out from the rest.
This video revives the legacy of Michael Jackson with a spectacular dance sequence to his song They Don’t Care About Us—and it features a very special guest.
Travis Payne, Michael Jackson’s longtime choreographer, as well as dancers Dres Reid and Daniel Celebre, came to help with the performance, which was recorded in high definition video.
“That was the most moving experience that I could have imagined. I didn’t know that it would be so special. I knew that we were going there to celebrate Michael,” said Travis Payne in an interview with Happiest.
At the CPDRC, inmates are allowed to participate in up to four hours of dance practice a day. Since the program’s inception, it has dramatically helped prevent violence and reduce recidivism amongst prisoners.
The videos were posted online as part of an effort to educate other prisons about the benefits of dance programs accompanied by regular exercise and discipline.
The CPDRC performances are a powerful statement of the struggles of inmates and the reality that society often gives up on those labeled “criminals.” It’s especially moving, given that the prisoners at the maximum security facility have typically committed among the worst of the worst of crimes.
Some may wonder if this type of opportunity is a privilege that should be denied the incarcerated. In justice, however, there are two major components—punitive and rehabilitative. That’s why they are often named “correctional” facilities.
And art itself may have some of the best rehabilitative characteristics of any type of therapy.
“Art inspires, produces an unwillingness to settle for what we have and a desire for something better. It is the product and producer of creative activity, change; it is essential for continuous development,” said Russell L. Ackoff, Professor Emeritus of Management Science at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
One correctional facility’s effort to use the power of transcending creativity to heal, help, and rehabilitate has now touched millions of people across the world. Enjoy!
Watch the video below:
Source: Hundreds Of Prisoners Perform Michael Jackson Classic In Powerful And Flawless Dance Routine from Happiest. and Michael Jackson’s This Is It – They Don’t Care About Us – Dancing Inmates HD by SonyPicturesDVD on YouTube.