A new project for us (Judy Dworin Performance Project) in our four years at York Correctional Institution for women in Niantic, CT is a program for Moms in Niantic and their kids in the Hartford region and beyond. For seven weeks we did workshops with the Moms and the kids in Niantic and Hartford independently with a related structure of songs, dance and art-making and this culminated in a sharing at the prison.We just had our Moms and kids sharing this past weekend and it was really beautiful– from a spontaneous welcome song created by the Moms 15 minutes before the kids arrived and sung as they entered the school to an equally spontaneous letter to Mom written by one of the sons and read as an unexpected finale to the morning event. He asked why every visit couldn’t be like this one and talked about faith and trust and possibility. It was a wonderful morning of song and verse and dancing and photo taking and making frames for the photos and everyone felt full, even those women who chose to participate anyways after they learned their children would not be coming. Some of our assistants became surrogate daughters and sons for the day and the women whose children were there and the children themselves showed such compassion and thoughtfulness for those without. It was deeply moving and yet one more reminder of why this work feels and is so meaningful.
Artistic Director, Judy Dworin Performance Project