Dedicated to the principle that “Dance Transforms Women’s Lives,” Moving Steps Foundation is a comprehensive performance and dance program for women who are currently or formerly incarcerated and women in opioid addiction recovery. Our goal is to reduce prison recidivism and support recovery through dance, creative expression and the transformative power of performance. We promote personal agency, responsibility, collaboration and cooperation through membership in a safe and caring artistic community.
MSF is driven programmatically by our company members. We believe that it is the only dance organization of its kind created by women and for women. MSF is responsive to company members’ needs, goals and achievements. Organizationally, our values reflect our desire to facilitate, develop and sustain the following for MSF company members:
- To develop responsibility and self esteem by generating a commitment to personal growth and positive transformation
- To facilitate artistic expression, creativity and provide performance opportunities
- To help women to create and sustain a stable, healthy lifestyle that can be transformed into a variety of life experiences
- To develop women’s leadership skills by facilitating the personal agency and self advocacy necessary to speak their own truths, make informed decisions and become role models for the community at large
- To create a supportive community of women able to provide ongoing peer mentorship and emotional support
- To create a safe space for emotional exploration and technical/artistic experimentation
Moving Steps began as a dance class and eventually became a performance lab at South Middlesex Correctional Center, the only female minimum security, pre-release state prison in MA. At the request of the women being released from the prison, the program was expanded to provide dance performance opportunities for these women within the Boston community working with various choreographers, professional dancers and a variety of performance artists. Later, our members expressed an interest in further expanding Moving Steps to include women in addiction recovery. Statistically, a large percentage of incarcerated women suffer from opioid substance abuse and both grapple with similar issues associated with reentry and recovery. Our methodology expands beyond dance and is a framework proven to be effective in implementing several art forms including spoken word, story telling and improvisational theater.
We encourage members of the dance community interested in partnership opportunities to contact us. It is our hope that the program will be leveraged nationwide and internationally in a variety of correctional facilities.