22 Jun 2008
These are the YouTube launched performing careers of these 1500 plus, Dancing Inmates at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) Cebu City, Philippines.
I had the rare unexpected opportunity of witnessing and eventually meeting key members in this facility. All I had at the moment was a simple point and shoot camera, but that was enough to immortalize the moment, and here I share it with you.
Entertaining choreographies, engaging songs, a mass of patterns and movements, dance performance composed of Killers, Rapists, ex-military personnel, practically the meanest of the meanest from the city. Not anymore, now they are seriously mean dancers...
Mr. Byron Garcia, Cebu provincial consultant on security, posted a video of a practice session on YouTube on July 18, 2007. In the morning of July 20, "Thriller" had already gained 266,000 views. A few hours later, it went up to 400,000. As of June 13, 2008 it has 15,885,502 views. Heres the original video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMnk7lh9M3o
They now have lots of other performances, radio gaga, sister act, etc...
The popularity for their dances is just the tip of the iceberg really, the real story is on the reforms they went through to get to that stage where they would rather dance together than stick with gangs and stake dominance in the facility.
Looking from above you lose track to the fact that each person in this jail has their own story to tell. It becomes easy to typecast them as one because of their sheer numbers, but if you look at these images long enough, you get to see individuals, friends, brothers, fathers, sons, who deserve to be treated humanely and justly.
Not discounting the tremendous reforms inside the facility and into the lives of these inmates, they remain to be or have been offenders to society, and sometimes sorry just isn't enough... So here behind these gates they will live out their sentences, here behind bars they will be paying their debt to society, for the sins they had once committed.