Dancing With the Cons?
Prison inmates known for their dancing skills at a maximum security prison in the Philippines gave a public performance on Saturday of “Gangnam Style,” Korean rapper Psy’s megahit music video.
As the New York Daily News explains, “It was only a matter of time before those Filipino inmates, known for thrilling online audiences with their dance moves, took on the pop world’s latest hit.”
Approximately 1,000 convicts at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center performed (see video below) “Gangnam Style” in the prison courtyard before about the same number of visitors and during a driving rainstorm. According to News.com.au, “this was the first public performance since February when authorities stopped the shows due to violence at the jail.”
The warden, Byron F. Garcia, implemented an exercise program for the inmates at the prison in 2007 that evolved into a music and dancing regimen. The prison dancers subsequently gained international notoriety when its cover of Michael Jackson’s Thriller went viral on YouTube.
The New York Times reported in 2008 that most of the prisoners in the facility are locked up for murder, rape, drug trafficking. and other serious offenses. They generally practice a “growing repertoire” of dance routines up to four hours a day under the direction of professional choreographers. Apparently, other prisons in the Philippines have also implemented music and dance-based inmate rehabilitation programs.
A musical called “Prison Dancer” about Filipino max security prisoners at the Cebu facility who turned their lives around through dance may be headed to Broadway.
Watch the CPDRC “Gangnam Style” video: