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CMS: Dancing with Judy Dworin
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At first, prison and performance don't seem to go together, but Judy Dworin is working to change that.


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49:26 minutes (23.73 MB)
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What I know about dance you could squeeze into a shot glass, but I have been thinking a lot lately about the performing arts.

I've been thinking that they're necessary for all of us. We should all sing, dance, act, declaim and do comedy. If you go back 4,000 years, my sense is that is the way things were. This idea of handing this basic part of ourselves over the specialists is recent and wrong. Do you really want to outsource your singing to Lady GagGa and your dancing to Tom DeLay? 

Today, we meet with Judy Dworin and her associates, and that -- I believe -- is very much at the heart of what they do: the notion that dance and theater and spoken word are wrapped up in our lives and not in any way separate and that the way to restore voice to those who go unheard is to let them perform. From 17th-century witch hunts to 21st-century women prisoners, Judy lets them dance it out.

And Let Us Correct You asks, "do eskimos really have 32 words for snow?"

Photos Courtesy WNPR's Chion Wolf.


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Listener E-mail from Simone


Good show today....my reactions:  I liked your intro, and I believed that teaching was "performance" -- in fact, I referred to doing 5 shows per day, not teaching 5 classes per day.  In fact, storytelling, reciting poetry and singing songs were all part of my repertoire.....these were all necessary to keep students alert and involved, esp. first period, which was at 7:30 a.m., as I'm sure you know....

As for women in prison:  L.A. has a huge number of mentally ill people in prison, more than any hospital in LA.   -- So does Maine.  In fact, a relative of mine (over the age of sixty) was incarcerated for 14 months for violating probation by shoplifting again while in a deranged mental state.

She received 2 months for the crime (stealing pepto bismol) and another year for violating terms of probation.  In all, she had stolen about merchandise worth about 200 bucks.  When I called to speak to her probation officer before sentencing and pointed out that she was mentally ill, this is what he said:

"The state of Maine does not care at all about a person's mental state -- we throw the book at them."  And he was well aware of the woman's mental problems!

I  read many articles about white collar criminals (usually men), who steal millions in CT. or other states, and wind up in federal prison for a year or two.  One man from Hartford area stole almost five million and served the same amount of time (in much softer circumstances) as I.S. did for her crime.  She was in state prison with murderers, etc.  He served in federal prison with drug dealers and bankers, etc. 

As you know, the  issue of class is often ignored.   I.S. was a poor white woman with a court appointed attorney.  The men (white collar thieves) can afford thousands for their attorneys.

As you know, Wally Lamb's latest book (about Columbine, etc.) was interesting from the angle of women in prison.  I hope you continue to focus on this important issue.


Listener E-mail from J.K.

I have on my lap the considerable heft of a copy of the Koyukon Athabaskan Dictionary, compiled by Jules Jette and Eliza Jones (Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska, 2000).

The English-to-Koyukon Index lists 45 Koyukon words for "snow" and particular activities related to snow.

To be sure, the Koyukon are Athabaskan, not Inuit, but it must mean something.

Because they have a need for expressing fine differences, engineers have thousands of words for steel. There must be interpretations that don't derogate engineers.